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Trump to Peña Nieto: Stop public defiance of wall

Posted at 11:38 AM, Aug 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-03 11:38:46-04

President Donald Trump boasted about his election victory, pressured his Mexican counterpart to remain quiet about a border wall and called New Hampshire a “drug-infested den” in a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, according to a transcript of the conversation revealed on Thursday by The Washington Post.

The January 27 phone call with Peña Nieto came seven days after Trump entered office. In it, he focused mainly on issues of trade and immigration, with contentious moments coming in his insistence that Mexico will eventually pay for a wall along with US southern border. Peña Nieto has insisted publicly his country will not pay for the wall’s construction, but Trump demanded he cease making that claim.”

“You cannot say that to the press,” Trump said on the phone call. “The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that. You cannot say that to the press because I cannot negotiate under those circumstances.”

In their conversation, Trump said he was willing to say publicly that he and Mexican authorities would continue to negotiate over the wall’s payment, which he said “means it will come out in the wash and that is OK.”

But he maintained his insistence that Peña Nieto remain quiet about the issue.

“You cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall,” he said. “I am just going to say that we are working it out. Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important talk about.”

Asked to comment on the transcripts, Michael Anton, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said only that he “can’t confirm or deny the authenticity of allegedly leaked classified documents.”

New Hampshire a ‘drug-infested den’

Over the course of their conversation, Trump referred to his Mexican counterpart by his first name, and routinely praised his eloquence. He repeatedly raised his electoral victory, insisting he had a mandate to crack down on illegal immigration and take on drug trafficking, according to the published transcript.

“I won with a large percentage of Hispanic voters. I understand the community and they understand me, and I have a great respect for the Mexican people.”

He ascribed his win in New Hampshire’s presidential primary to a tough-on-crime stance, calling the state a “drug-infested den.”