Miami real estate billionaire Jorge Perez rejected President Donald Trump's request to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and described the project as "idiotic."
"The wall is the most idiotic thing I’ve ever seen or heard in my life," said Perez, according to Bloomberg. "A wall for what? You think a wall is going to stop people that are hungry? Good employment in Mexico, economic growth in Mexico, equality is going to stop people from coming over the border."
Perez, known as the "condo king" in Miami, is a friend and business partner of Trump and has built several Trump Towers for the president. But this project was one he decided to turn down and even joked about what side of the wall he would end up on.
Perez is a U.S. citizen but was born in Argentina to Cuban parents.
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Shortly after Trump won the 2016 presidential election, Perez told the Miami Herald that potential real estate buyers from Mexico and other countries were getting turned off by Trump's tough talk on immigration.
"We had to reassure our clients that in our opinion there will be no increased restrictions on visas or ownership requirements for foreign buyers," Perez said at the time. "Trump is a businessman and understands the importance of foreign buyers. We have done four condominium towers with him in Florida, and he was part of the presentations to Latin Americans ... I believe that, if anything, he will try to promote this investment to help our economy grow."
Perez added: "Uncertainty is a big deterrent to investment, and I hope that no policies are developed which in any way affect our standing as the most secure country in which to invest."