The Americas

Pena Nieto: No president thinks "how do I screw Mexico?"

FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2016, file photo, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump walks with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto at the end of their joint statement at Los Pinos, the presidential official residence, in Mexico City. President Pena Nieto said Sunday, Oct. 23, that he could have done a better job handling the controversial meeting with the Republican candidate. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)

FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2016, file photo, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump walks with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto at the end of their joint statement at Los Pinos, the presidential official residence, in Mexico City. President Pena Nieto said Sunday, Oct. 23, that he could have done a better job handling the controversial meeting with the Republican candidate. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)  (The Associated Press)

Mexico's increasingly frank president, who is battling low approval ratings, launched a campaign on Tuesday to get people to talk positively about his country.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said his administration has made mistakes, but that his efforts were in good faith.

"I don't think any president has woken up and thought, and forgive me for saying it, 'How do I screw Mexico?'" Pena Nieto said.

He continued, "Let's speak well of Mexico. I am not asking you to speak well of the administration."

Pena Nieto's approval ratings were around 23 percent even before his controversial decision to meet with Republican candidate Donald Trump.

In an interview broadcast Sunday, Pena Nieto said he "could have done things in a better way" regarding the visit by Trump, who has suggested many Mexicans are criminals or rapists.

Many Mexicans wanted Pena Nieto to openly demand an apology from Trump during the visit.

Also Tuesday, Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party tried to put a corruption scandal behind it by expelling former Gov. Javier Duarte from the party ranks.

Sen. Arturo Zamora said Duarte had been expelled by a party commission, after he failed to show up to defend himself.

Authorities are trying to arrest Duarte, the former governor of Veracruz state who is under investigation for alleged money laundering and participation in organized crime. His whereabouts are unknown.

Zamora said Duarte should turn himself in to authorities.

Duarte stepped down as governor on Oct. 12, a month and a half before his term was supposed to end. At the time, he said he wanted to confront the corruption allegations, which he denies.