Mexico president shelves plan to visit US after Trump phone call
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has shelved a plan to visit the United States following a phone conversation with US President Donald Trump, in which the US president reportedly lost his temper.
The Washington Post first reported the development on Saturday, citing US and Mexican officials.
It said Pena Nieto was planning to visit Washington in February or March, but “shelved” his plan after a “testy” phone call with Trump on Tuesday.
The 50-minute phone call between the Mexican president and his US counterpart reached an impasse over Trump’s campaign promise of building a wall on the US’s border with Mexico and making Mexico City pay for it.
The report said the two leaders “devoted a considerable portion” of the phone conversation to discussing the border wall. Pena Nieto reportedly asked Trump to publicly affirm Mexico’s position that it will not pay for the wall. The US president refused.
According to the Mexican account of the conversation, Trump at some point “lost his temper.” According to the American version, he was frustrated by Pena Nieto’s demand.
The Mexican president had canceled an earlier trip after Trump threatened to impose a tax on Mexican imports to pay for the border wall.
During his campaign for presidency, Trump had hinted that illegal Mexican immigrants to the US were “murderers” and “rapists.” That enraged the Mexican government and people. Once the US president promised to build the wall and make Mexico pay for it, Mexico City made it clear that it was not going to.
Meanwhile, an upcoming presidential election in Mexico scheduled for July is a determining factor and any compromise by Pena Nieto may risk damaging his public image and reducing his chances for re-election.
Some experts say that a trip to the US by the Mexican president any time before the election would be a risk.