Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled upcoming plans to visit the White House after a high-strung phone call with President Donald Trump. The Washington Post reports that the two leaders clashed in a deadlock over Trump's proposed border wall, according to U.S. and Mexican officials. Both countries agreed to cancel any tentative plans after Trump refused to publicly state that Mexico would not fund the building of a wall.
Peña Nieto and Trump spoke on the phone for roughly 50 minutes on Tuesday. The two reportedly spent a majority of this conversation discussing the ominous wall, and neither would budge from their post. One Mexico official claimed that Trump “lost his temper” during the conversation. U.S. officials described Trump as just exasperated and frustrated with the situation, and he believes that Peña Nieto's position is senseless. Trump has consistently insisted that Mexico will be paying for the wall, and Peña Nieto has insisted that they will not. Trump's stubbornness was all but reassuring to the Mexican president. This, combined with Peña Nieto's desire to avoid embarrassment, led to the decision to cancel the visit.
If you have a little déjà vu, that's because a very similar occurrence took place almost exactly a year ago. In January 2017, Peña Nieto canceled a trip to Washington after a verbal clash regarding who was going to pay for the wall. The president of Mexico was not impressed when Trump brushed the issue aside, saying “we will work it out,” before things escalated. In the phone call, Trump told Peña Nieto, "The fact is, we are both in a little bit of a political bind because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall. I have been talking about it for a two-year period. ... If you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that."
A White House official confirmed Peña Nieto was planning a trip for March, according to CNN. U.S. presidents have traditionally met with the president of Mexico soon after taking office because of the close relationship of the neighboring nations.