Trump pres­sured Mex­ico pres­i­dent on bor­der wall pay­ment: re­port

Weekend Mirror - - EDITORIAL -

(Reuters) - U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pres­sured the Mex­i­can pres­i­dent to stop voic­ing op­po­si­tion in pub­lic to his plan to have Mex­ico pay for a bor­der wall, ac­cord­ing to tran­scripts of phone calls pub­lished on Thurs­day that gave an in­sight into Trump’s at­tempts to in­flu­ence for­eign lead­ers in his first days in of­fice.

The Wash­ing­ton Post pub­lished texts of some­times fraught calls with Mex­ico’s En­rique Pena Ni­eto and Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull just days after the Repub­li­can took of­fice on Jan. 20.

The sub­stance of the calls has pre­vi­ously been re­ported but the lengthy tran­scripts re­veal Trump, whose first elected of­fice is the pres­i­dency, try­ing to use a mix­ture of blus­ter, tough talk and charm as he fully en­ters the world of diplo­macy.

Trump ar­gued with Turn­bull over refugees in an ac­ri­mo­nious call on Jan. 28 which the new U.S. pres­i­dent told his coun­ter­part was “un­pleas­ant.”

In a Jan. 27 call, Trump pressed Pena Ni­eto to avoid say­ing in pub­lic that Mexi co would not fund t he planned bor­der wall. But he com­pli­mented the Mex­i­can leader’s “beau­ti­ful words” and said he hoped Mex­ico would change its con­sti­tu­tion to al­low Pena Ni­eto to ex­tend his stay in of­fice.

The pro­posed wall, aimed at pre­vent­ing il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion to the United States, is a bone of con­tention be­tween Mex­ico and Wash­ing­ton. Pena Ni­eto has re­peat­edly re­jected Trump’s prom­ise that Mex­ico will end up pay­ing bil­lions of dol­lars for its con­struc­tion.

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