Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said Thursday that he told the White House he will not attend a scheduled meeting with President Donald Trump, following a clash over two Trump executive orders related to immigration.
In a tweet translated from Spanish, Pena Nieto said, “This morning we informed the White House that I will not attend next Tuesday’s scheduled meeting” with Trump.
The two leaders were expected to meet in the United States to discuss trade and immigration. After Trump signed two executive orders Wednesday aiming to crack down on immigration from America’s southern neighbor, Pena Nieto said he would consult with Mexican officials to decide “next steps” and reiterated that Mexico would not pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Thursday morning, Trump responded on Twitter, first criticizing America’s trade relationship with Mexico. He added that “if Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.”
It is unclear if Trump’s tweets threatening to scrap the meeting came before or after Pena Nieto canceled it. Trump later claimed that he and Pena Nieto mutually agreed to cancel the meeting.
“Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States with respect I want to go a different route,” Trump told Republican lawmakers at a retreat in Philadelphia.
Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order directing the construction of a physical wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, following through on a key campaign promise.
The U.S. will fund the wall, which is estimated to cost $8 billion or more, though Trump has maintained that Mexico will reimburse the cost. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the Republican-controlled Congress has projected a $12 billion to $15 billion cost.
“We’ll be reimbursed at a later date from whatever transaction we make from Mexico,” Trump told ABC News on Wednesday. “I’m just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. What I’m doing is good for the United States. It’s also going to be good for Mexico. We want to have a very stable, very solid Mexico.”
SOURCE: Jacob Pramuk