The White House trip is off. Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto is canceling his meeting with Donald Trump next week after the U.S. president signed his executive order to begin construction on the border wall, and the administration insisted, once again, that Mexico would pay for it “one way or another.”
Pressure for Nieto to call off the White House visit, originally scheduled for Tuesday, January 31, spiked after Trump signed the order to build the wall, which — beyond repeatedly asking for payment — is seen as deeply offensive to the country, and the culmination of Trump’s barbed rhetoric toward Mexico on both immigration and trade. Nieto, before officially calling off the meeting, repeated, “Mexico does not believe in walls. I have said time and time again, Mexico will not pay for any wall.”
Trump shot back at Nieto, on Twitter, and did little to convince Nieto to keep his appointment:
The White House meeting might be off, but the Twitter feud continues. Nieto, after backing out of the meeting, added that Mexico is still willing to work with the United States “to achieve agreements in favor of both nations.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer, responding IRL, said about Nieto’s cancellation: “We’ll look for a date to schedule something in the future. We’ll continue to coordinate.”
Trump chimed in again Thursday, at a GOP retreat in Philly, this time seeming to imply that he nixed the meeting and doing little to deescalate the rising tensions with the U.S.’s third-largest trading partner. “Unless, Mexico is going to treat America with respect,” he said, “I want to go another direction.”
This post has been updated with Trump’s additional comments.