Mexican president denies calling Trump to praise border policy
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has denied any recent phone communications with Donald Trump in praise of his US counterpart’s controversial border wall policy.
The dismissal came on Monday after the US president boasted during an official event that Nieto had called him on the phone to praise the proposed construction of a long wall along the southern US-Mexican border.
“At Homeland, what he has done has been nothing short of miraculous,” Trump claimed as he presented his new chief of staff, former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.
“As you know, the border was a tremendous problem and they’re close to 80 percent stoppage. And even the president of Mexico called me — they said their southern border, very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment,” he added.
Rejecting the account, the Mexican presidential office said in a statement that, “President Enrique Pena Nieto has not recently communicated with President Donald Trump by phone.”
The statement said the two leaders had last discussed migration issues when they officially met for the first time on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany on July 7.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall to keep illegal immigrants from entering the United States. The Mexican government has strongly rejected the claim.
As the first step to deliver on one of his most divisive campaign pledges, the US president signed a directive to begin the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico just less than a week after assuming office in Washington.
Back in January, Nieto also cancelled a trip to Washington in response to Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for his planned border wall.
The wall could end up costing as much as $21.6 billion, far more than the administration’s estimate of $12 billion, according to reports.