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Donald Trump Brawls With Mexico’s President Over Border Wall, To Delight Of TV News

Deadline logo Deadline 1/26/2017 Lisa de Moraes
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President Donald Trump and Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto’s disagreement over Trump’s Wall turned into a brawl today – warmly received by TV news outlets who love nothing better than a good fight between two alpha dogs.

Some political pundits, a cynical bunch, noted Peña Nieto’s approval rating of 12% in his country, a tank into which he plunged since his ill-advised meet-and-greet with then-candidate Trump in August. What with Trump having been sworn into office last week at an historically low approval rating of 37%-41%, pundits suggested there might be some theater happening here.

“The president of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting scheduled for next week,” Trump told GOP lawmakers at their Philadelphia retreat today, as cable news networks covered it live. “Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless, and I want to go in a different route. I have no choice,” he added, explaining that border security is “a serious issue and a national problem” and insisting “most illegal immigration is coming from our southern border.”

While Trump was on Air Force One en route to Philly, Peña Nieto announced he had canceled the meeting over the newly installed POTUS’ executive order expediting construction of the wall, for which which Trump continues to insist Mexico will pay.

“This morning we have informed the White House that I will not attend the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the POTUS,” Peña Nieto tweeted, appearing to call Trump’s bluff.
That’s because, hours earlier, Trump tweeted that “it would be better” to skip the meeting if Peña Nieto continued to insist Mexico would not pay for the wall:

On Wednesday evening, Peña Nieto had tweeted a sort of nuts-to-you note to Trump, in re paying for the border wall on which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has put a price tag of $12 billion-$15 billion. “Mexico does not believe in walls. I’ve said time again; Mexico will not pay for any wall,” the Mexican president said in a video statement. In that tweet, Peña Nieto said he still intended to meet with Trump on Tuesday:

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