Trump pressured Mexico president on border wall payment: report
(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.