Trump And Mexican President Pledge To Settle Differences President Trump spoke with Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, for an hour by phone on Friday. According to both sides, the two agreed to work together to resolve their differences.
NPR logo

Trump And Mexican President Pledge To Settle Differences

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/512129931/512129932" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Trump And Mexican President Pledge To Settle Differences

Trump And Mexican President Pledge To Settle Differences

Trump And Mexican President Pledge To Settle Differences

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/512129931/512129932" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

President Trump spoke with Mexico's president, Enrique Peña Nieto, for an hour by phone on Friday. According to both sides, the two agreed to work together to resolve their differences.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Well, let's just say that President Trump and the president of Mexico have agreed to disagree. Yesterday, they held what was called a constructive and productive hour-long phone call after spending much of the week spatting over President Trump's proposed border wall and his insistence that Mexico pay for it. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports that the Mexican president's popularity took a hit over his handling of the crisis, but he got a boost from Mexico's richest man.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Both presidents issued a joint statement shortly after yesterday's call. They both acknowledge their clear and very public differences about paying for a border wall, and both agreed to resolve those differences as part of a comprehensive discussion. Pena Nieto's statement also included this sentence (reading) for now, both presidents agree not to publicly talk about this controversial issue.

That line was missing from Trump's statement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I have been very strong on Mexico. I have great respect for Mexico. I love the Mexican people. I work with the Mexican people all the time - great relationships.

KAHN: Later in the day, Trump softened his tone regarding Mexico but vowed to renegotiate trade deals to the U.S.' favor.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: But the United States cannot continue to lose vast amounts of business, vast amounts of companies and millions and millions of people losing their jobs. That won't happen with me. We're no longer going to be the country that doesn't know what it's doing

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CARLOS SLIM: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "It's good they spoke by phone," said Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. In a rare press conference at his Mexico City headquarters, Slim said it is clear that the two presidents weren't going to negotiate anything over Twitter. Trump and Pena Nieto had been tweeting their disagreement over payment of the border wall during most of the week. Thursday, Pena Nieto canceled his visit, which was scheduled for next week in Washington. In his more than hour-long press conference, Slim urged Mexicans to unite around Pena Nieto, whose popularity has tanked greatly in part due to his dealings with Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SLIM: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "Those proposals are absurd," says Slim, referring to Trump's insistence that Mexico pay for the wall and his proposal to tax Mexican exports to the U.S. by as much as 20 percent. Slim said the best wall the U.S. could build to keep immigrants out would be by investing and creating jobs in Mexico. Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City.

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

After Canceling White House Visit, Peña Nieto Speaks To Trump By Phone

Newspapers in Mexico City on Thursday featured headlines about President Trump's proposed border wall and his insistence that Mexico will foot the bill. Rebecca Blackwell/AP hide caption

toggle caption
Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Newspapers in Mexico City on Thursday featured headlines about President Trump's proposed border wall and his insistence that Mexico will foot the bill.

Rebecca Blackwell/AP

President Trump spoke by phone to President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico for an hour on Friday, according to statements by both leaders.

Peña Nieto was scheduled to visit the White House on Jan. 31. But on Wednesday Trump signed an order to move forward with a wall along the Mexican border and insisted that Mexico would eventually pay the bill.

On Thursday, Peña Nieto canceled his planned visit to the U.S. without giving a reason.

According to a statement released by Peña Nieto's office after Friday's call, the two leaders did discuss security along the border between their two countries.

"With regard to the payment of the border wall, both Presidents acknowledged their clear and very public differences in position on this sensitive issue and agreed to resolve these differences as part of a comprehensive discussion of all aspects of the bilateral relationship," an unofficial translation of the statement read.

"The Presidents also agreed at this point not to speak publicly about this controversial issue."

The White House released a statement saying, "With respect to payment for the border wall, both presidents recognize their clear and very public differences of positions on this issue but have agreed to work these differences out."

Asked about the call at a news conference on Friday, Trump said the call had been "very good" and that "we are going to renegotiate our trade deals and we are going to renegotiate other aspects of our relationship with Mexico and in the end I think it will be good for both countries."

Trump also noted the trade deficit with Mexico, saying:

"I have great respect for Mexico. I love the Mexican people. I work with the Mexican people all the time, great relationships. But as you know Mexico with the United States has outnegotiated us and beat us to a pulp through our past leaders. That made us look foolish."

On Thursday, a White House spokesman said one potential way to pay for the wall could be to apply a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico, as well as other countries with which the U.S. has a trade deficit.

"That would effectively saddle U.S. consumers with a significant portion of the wall's cost, estimated at $15 billion or more," NPR's Scott Horsley reported.