President Donald Trump wants to go after Mexico's "bad hombres", according to a transcript of a call between him and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto as reported by the Associated Press and a Mexican journalist Wednesday. "Our military isn't, so I just might send them down to take care of it", Trump was quoted as saying by AP.
The report did not make clear who exactly Trump considered as "bad hombre" but Mexican news website Aristegui Noticias reported that Trump was referring to drug traffickers. TIME has reported, this is a striking look at how the new president is conducting diplomacy behind closed doors.
Mexico has denied Donald Trump threatened to send American soldiers into the country during a telephone conversation with his counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto.
The call came after White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during a presser that the Trump administration was considering a 20 percent border tax on Mexican imports to pay for the wall.
The White House would not comment on the purported transcript and denied that the US was planning to invade Mexico.
A few days later, he tweeted that Peña Nieto should not visit Washington for a January 30 meeting with Trump unless Mexico was prepared to pay for construction of the wall - one of his signature campaign pledges.
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Jorge Ramos, the Mexican-born news anchor at the US -based Spanish-language Univision TV network, tweeted skepticism.
So, despite having every in-the-know official from Mexico declaring that no such remarks were made and attesting to the productive nature of the call, a White House official who just couldn't leave well enough alone thought it would be a good idea to chase after the AP and let them know that, yes, Trump really said those things, but everyone was just misunderstanding him!
"When you hear about the tough phone calls I'm having, don't worry about it", Trump told the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event in Washington.
"The tone was constructive", Mexico said in the statement, adding: "And it was agreed by the presidents to continue working and that the teams will continue to meet frequently to construct an agreement that is positive forMexico and for the United States". Australian officials, according to later reports, denied that the call ended in Trump hanging up on Turnbull, but nevertheless confirmed that the Post's story was "substantially accurate". The Mexican president himself said they talked for an hour, although AP said that on the occasion the head of the White House spoke of sending the military of his country to contain the "bad men", which could make reference to Mexican criminal groups.
The news organization obtained the call transcript in which Trump allegedly told Pena Nieto, "You have a bunch of bad hombres down there".