Well looks like Trump’s approach to foreign diplomacy is officially no diplomacy. After a heated call with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto went bad fast, a planned state visit to the White House has been cancelled.
Parties familiar with the call on Feb. 20 say that the breakdown in communication happened over disagreement about who will pay for Trump’s border wall. Peña Nieto urged Trump to acknowledge publicly Mexico’s position that it will not pay for the wall, in hopes of avoiding mutual public embarrassment.
Trump sources say that Trump thought the request was ridiculous, and that Peña Nieto was out of line for asking him to walk back one of his “most popular” campaign promises. A Mexican official said Trump lost his temper over this, but Trump officials deny that and agree with their dear leader, that the request was ridiculous.
Trump is deeply unpopular in Mexico and he and the Mexican president have been at odds since before his election. Peña Nieto faces a presidential election of his own in July and is careful to avoid any move that could be interpreted as caving to Trump’s demands or weakening Mexico’s position relative to the US.
Former Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan described the main issue with Trump’s approach.
“His relationship with Mexico isn’t strategically driven. It’s not even business; it’s personal, driven by motivations and triggers, and that’s a huge problem. It could end up with the U.S. asking itself, who lost Mexico?”
Both leaders have taken pains to describe the US-Mexico relationship as smooth sailing in public, but clearly thats not the case. This is the second time Peña Nieto has called off an official state visit, the first being immediately after Trump’s inauguration last year.
This war of words has continued to escalate over the past year and doesn’t look like it will cool off any time soon.