“The two leaders agreed now was not the immediate right time for a visit, but that they would have their teams continue to talk and work together,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak by name about the decision.
As first reported by The Washington Post, the two leaders had a testy telephone conversation on Tuesday in which Pena Nieto pushed for a commitment that if he traveled to Washington, Trump would not publicly repeat his call for Mexico to pay for the wall.
As exasperated Trump refused to make any such commitment, the Post reported.
Administration officials other than Trump have admitted several times that U.S. taxpayers will have to pay for construction of any additional border barriers. They have repeatedly asked Congress to appropriate billions of dollars for the project.
But Trump promised over and over during his campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, and he’s refused to publicly give up that stance, which the Mexicans adamantly reject.
Despite the tension over that issue, Michael Anton, a spokesperson for the Trump administration’s National Security Council, said relations are fine between the U.S. and Mexico.
“We enjoy a great relationship with Mexico, and the two administrations have been working for a year to deepen our cooperation across a range of issues including security, immigration, trade and economics,” Anton said in a statement.
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