D'oh! US, Mexico Statements Differ On Public Statements About Border Wall

Rebecca Blackwell

Did President Donald Trump agree with the president of Mexico not to talk publicly about who will pay for a big, beautiful border wall?

That's what the Mexican government said in a statement issued Friday after the two heads of state spoke by phone.

But in what appears to be another snafu among many during the first week of the new Trump administration, what was described as a "joint statement" from the White House used virtually all of the same language as the statement from Mexico, save for one key line.

"With regard to the payment of the border wall, both presidents acknowledge 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. The presidents also agreed at this point not to speak publicly about this controversial issue," the Mexican government said in the statement, according to CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

The White House's statement on the call, which was described as a "joint statement," included a very similar line about payment for the border wall, but did not mention the agreement not to make public statements on the matter.

"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 as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship," the White House statement reads. "Both presidents have instructed their teams to continue the dialogue to strengthen this important strategic and economic relationship in a constructive way."

Asked by TPM if Trump and Peña Nieto agreed not to speak publicly about payment for the border wall, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters declined to comment. Walters also declined to comment when asked to confirmed that the statement issued by the White House was in fact a joint statement from the two countries.

The phone call followed an online tiff between the leaders. Trump, who has vowed to make Mexico pay for a border wall, on Wednesday signed an executive order paving the way for the construction of the wall. At odds over the wall and who will pay for it, Mexican President President Enrique Peña Nieto on Thursday called off a meeting with Trump planned for Jan. 31.

During a Friday press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump said he had a "friendly" call with Peña Nieto on Friday for about an hour. The President said that he and the Mexican president "are going to be working on a fair relationship, a new relationship.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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