Speaking at a town-hall style meeting just hours after delivering his annual state-of-the-nation report to congress, Peña Nieto again defended his decision to host Trump in Mexico for a private meeting and press conference.
He said the easier path would have been to "cross my arms" and do nothing in response to Trump's "affronts, insults and humiliations," but he believed it necessary to open a "space for dialogue" to stress the importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship, the Associated Press reported.
"What is a fact is that in the face of candidate Trump's postures and positions, which clearly represent a threat to the future of Mexico, it was necessary to talk," Peña Nieto said. "It was necessary to make him feel and know why Mexico does not accept his positions."
He acknowledged Mexicans' "enormous indignation" over Trump's presence in the country and repeated that he told him in person Mexico would in no way pay for the proposed border wall, according to the Associated Press.
Minutes after the verbal mix-up, #HillaryTrump sprung up as a trending topic on Twitter, with users posting bizarre memes and mashups superimposing the face of one candidate on the other.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.