The Washington Post recently published transcripts from President Donald Trump’s first White House phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The transcripts show a very different picture than the narrative Trump has painted – that Mexico was definitely going to pay for the wall. Rather than standing up to the Mexican president, Trump seemed to try sweet talking Peña Nieto while essentially pleading with him to act like they were figuring out a compromise.
The transcripts show President Trump wasn’t using the same harsh rhetoric he used on the campaign trail.
WashPost got transcripts of Trump’s convo w Mexican Prez ….
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) August 3, 2017
After the initial pleasantries and greetings, Peña Nieto immediately brought up the wall Trump had been championing during his campaign. After letting Trump know that it was nothing personal, Peña Nieto let him know that the Mexican government is not going to be paying for the wall.
“It has nothing to do with you personally, Mr. President. But it is an unthinkable that I cannot ignore this because we find this completely unacceptable for Mexicans to pay for the wall that you are thinking of building,” Peña Nieto told Trump according to the transcripts. “I understand, Mr. President, the small political margin that you have now in terms of everything you said that you established throughout your campaign. But I would also like to make you understand, President Trump, the lack of margin I have as President of Mexico to accept this situation. And this has been, unfortunately, the critical point that has not allowed us to move forward in the building of the relationship between our two countries.”
Even though Peña Nieto brought up the wall early in the conversation, it’s a few exchanges before Trump turns the conversation to that subject. Instead, Trump talked about his victory and, according to The Washington Post, lied to Peña Nieto about the margins of his victory. When Trump returned back to the wall discussion, his attitude is a far cry from the tough “Mexico will pay” rhetoric that he used at all of his campaign rallies.
Trump tried to convince Peña Nieto that he should stop saying that Mexico isn’t paying for the wall.
CREDIT: The Washington Post
Trump attempts to talk to Peña Nieto about the crime that is pouring over the border from Mexico into the United States, but Peña Nieto was prepared. Peña Nieto suggested that the two leaders work together to make sure that the countries are safer but did put some of the blame on the U.S. for the weapons that are moving south into Mexico. Instead, Trump suggests that both leaders should tell the press that they are working it out. Peña Nieto responded to Trump saying that while he recognizes that every country has the sovereign right to protect their borders, he will continue to say that Mexico will not pay for the wall.
“But you cannot say that to the press,” Trump pleaded with Peña Nieto. “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.”
The conversation ended with Trump praising Peña Nieto.
— Slate (@Slate) August 3, 2017
First, Trump said that Peña Nieto’s words were beautiful and should definitely be included in the joint statements being released by the two governments. Then, Trump tells Peña Nieto that he hopes there is a constitutional amendment that would allow Peña Nieto another six-year term because Mexican presidents only get one six-year term, according to The Washington Post. Peña Nieto didn’t entertain the idea saying simply that he wanted both countries to do well before ending the call.
You can read the full transcript here.