After Trump Call, Mexican Prez Scraps US Visit

Border wall appears to be major sticking point as Peña Nieto has yet to visit DC under Trump
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2018 1:11 AM CST
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto, attends a conference, at the OECD headquarters, in Paris, Monday, Dec. 11, 2017.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
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(Newser) – After what the Washington Post is calling a "testy" 50-minute phone call between President Trump and his Mexican counterpart, the latter will not be visiting the former as planned. The major sticking point seems to be Trump's border wall, and Enrique Peña Nieto's refusal to pay for it. The Mexican leader had planned his first trip to the States since Trump's election this month or next, but dropped his plans after Trump refused to publicly acknowledge Peña Nieto's refusal to pay for the wall. Though Peña Nieto met in Mexico with Trump as a candidate, he canceled a planned January 2017 visit over Trump's wall rhetoric, reports the AP.

The Post paints the two men as opposites, with the Mexican leader "a physically slight man," who is "exceedingly formal" and fond of "carefully scripted public events." And with Mexican presidential elections looming in July, he could be looking to make sure he avoids embarrassment for the sake of his party. "The problem is that President Trump has painted himself, President Peña Nieto, and the bilateral relationship into a corner," said Arturo Sarukhan, a former Mexican ambassador to the US. "The idea of Mexico paying for the wall was never going to fly. His relationship with Mexico isn’t strategically driven. 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?' "

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