The State Department appeared to be caught off guard by the news that Mexico’s foreign minister was in Washington and meeting with President Trump’s inner circle on Thursday.
During his third day of daily press briefings, after not holding any for the first six weeks of the Trump administration, acting State Department spokesperson Mark Toner seemed not to know that Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray was in town, meeting with White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.
The Los Angeles Times reported the apparent lack of communication on Thursday afternoon. Videgaray later said that he had spoken to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the night before his White House meeting, the paper reported.
Asked about the mix-up on Friday, a State Department spokesperson told TPM: “The Department was aware of the visit.”
“The Foreign Minister knows he has an open invitation to visit or call anytime he needs to,” the spokesperson said. “The Secretary believes they have had some very productive exchanges over the past few weeks and is looking forward to more in the near future.”
Here’s Thursday’s exchange, according to the State Department’s transcript:
QUESTION: Hi. Yes, thank you. Hi, Mark. I see that the foreign minister of Mexico is in town, Luis Videgaray, meeting with – according to the Mexicans – Kushner, Gary Cohn, and McMaster. Is there no State Department meeting with him? And if not, why not?
MR TONER: Tracy, good question. We’ll take that and get back to you. I was unaware that he was – the foreign minister was in town. And I’m not sure – I can’t speak to whether there’s going to be any meetings at the State Department at any level. I’ll take the question.