Trump urges Pena Nieto to stop publicly saying Mexico won’t pay for the wall
During his phone call with Pena Nieto, Trump urged his Mexican counterpart to stop saying that Mexico will not pay for a wall on the southwestern U.S. border. A signature Trump promise during the presidential campaign was that he would build the wall and make Mexico pay for it.
“You have a very big mark on our back, Mr. President, regarding who pays for the wall,” Pena Nieto said. “My position has been and will continue to be very firm saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall.”
Trump responded, “But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that, and I cannot live with that. You cannot say that to the press, because I cannot negotiate under those circumstances.”
He went on, “But the fact is we are both in a little bit of a political bind, because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall. I have to.”
He suggested that they publicly say they’re still determining who will pay for the wall.
Trump then threatened, “If you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore, because I cannot live with that.”
The January 27 phone call with Peña Nieto came seven days after Trump entered office. In it, he focused mainly on issues of trade and immigration, with contentious moments coming in his insistence that Mexico will eventually pay for a wall along with US southern border. Peña Nieto has insisted publicly his country will not pay for the wall’s construction, but Trump demanded he cease making that claim.
Trump ran for office promising to build a Mexican-funded wall along the southern border. But since taking office, Trump has said that the US will pay for initial construction, with reimbursement from Mexico coming later.
In his conversation with Peña Nieto, Trump said he was willing to say publicly that he and Mexican authorities would continue to negotiate over the wall’s payment, which he said “means it will come out in the wash and that is OK.”