Mexico's president called off a White House visit after Trump refused to say publicly that Mexico won't pay for the border wall

John Moore/Getty ImagesPresident of Mexico Enrique Pena Nieto.
  • Mexico’s president will reportedly no longer visit the White House after he argued with President Donald Trump over his long-promised border wall.
  • Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto attempted to persuade Trump to publicly admit that Mexico won’t pay for the border wall.
  • Trump promised repeatedly during his 2016 presidential campaign that he would force Mexico to pay for it.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto reportedly backed out of plans to visit the White House after a heated argument with President Donald Trump this week over his long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border.

Trump “lost his temper” during a nearly hour-long phone call on February 20, one Mexican official told The Washington Post. Peña Nieto had tried to persuade Trump to publicly acknowledge that Mexico will refuse to pay for the border wall, as Trump repeatedly vowed during his presidential campaign.

US officials told The Post that Trump was frustrated and exasperated by the call, as Trump believed it was unfair to expect him to renege on one of his favourite campaign refrains.

A White House readout of the call made no mention of the border wall argument, instead saying that Trump and Peña Nieto exchanged condolences over recent tragedies in each leader’s country – a mass shooting in Florida and a helicopter accident in Oaxaca.

“President Trump underscored his commitment to expanding cooperation between the United States and Mexico on security, trade, and immigration,” the readout added.

The call marks the second time in a little more than a year that Peña Nieto and Trump have cancelled a planned meeting after an angry stand-off on the border wall.

In a January 2017 phone call, Trump told Peña Nieto he didn’t want to meet with him because he “cannot live” with Peña Nieto publicly saying that Mexico wouldn’t pay for the wall.

Trump urged Peña Nieto to say, “We will work it out” if either man was asked about payments for the border wall, according to a transcript obtained by The Washington Post last August.

“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,” Trump said. “I have been talking about it for a two-year period, and the reason I say they are going to pay for the wall is because Mexico has made a fortune out of the stupidity of US trade representatives.”

The leaders’ latest spat comes as Mexico heads into a presidential election later this year, prompting Peña Nieto to take a tough stance on Trump’s border wall and avoid appearing to acquiesce to his demands, which Mexicans overwhelmingly view as humiliating and offensive.

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