For more than an hour, it really seemed as if Trump’s unlikely meeting with Mexican president Peña Nieto came off without a hitch. Then the president began sharing his version of events.
There was obviously one question every reporter wanted to ask — they were literally jumping out of their seats — during the press conference following the pair’s meeting in Mexico City: what about the border wall that Trump has promised to make Mexico pay for?
Trump said that they “did discuss the wall” but surprisingly he added that they “did not discuss payment of the wall,” saying that “that’ll be for a later date.”
Then Peña Nieto turned to Twitter to share his version of events.
“At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump,” he tweeted in Spanish, “I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall.”
A Mexican government spokesperson then released a statement arguing that both men were technically correct: President Nieto did make a declarative statement about Mexico not paying for the wall, but the two never discussed the payment together. In his speech on immigration later in the evening, Trump returned to his hardline positions, reiterating that undocumented immigrations threaten the physical safety of Americans and saying that Mexico would pay for the wall, even if “they don’t know it yet.”
Whether Trump was being knowingly dishonest or not, it didn’t take long for the Clinton camp to seize on the discrepancy. Within hours her campaign had released a video portraying Trump — who claims to have literally written the book on negotiation— as a bad negotiator.
“It turns out Trump didn’t just choke,” said Hillary for America Chairman John Podesta in a statement, “he got beat in the room and lied about it.”