Former Mexican President Vicente Fox accused President Trump of trying to "save face" with his supporters after a leaked transcript shows Trump hedging on his campaign promise to make Mexico pay for a wall along the southern border.
"If you notice in that conversation, what Trump is trying to do is to save face in front of his voters," Fox told CNN on Friday morning. The conversation was between Trump and current President Enrique Pena Nieto. "He's not looking after America and the great Americans, it's that he's trying to save face."
On Thursday, the Washington Post published leaked transcripts of Trump's conversations this year with Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
During his discussion with Pena Nieto, Trump seemed to recognize that following through on his promise to have Mexico pay for the border wall would be difficult, and urged Pena Nieto to stop talking about how the multibillion-dollar structure would be funded.
"On the wall, you and I both have a political problem," Trump said. "My people stand up and say, ‘Mexico will pay for the wall,' and your people probably say something in a similar but slightly different language. But the fact is we are both in a little bit of a political bind because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall. I have to. I have been talking about it for a two-year period."
Trump also tried to work out an agreed-upon response to questions on who would pay for the wall along the southern border.
"We should both say, ‘We will work it out.' It will work out in a formula somehow," Trump said. "As opposed to you saying, ‘We will not pay,' and me saying, ‘We will not pay.'"
The president repeatedly said on the campaign trail that he would make Mexico pay for a border wall, but Pena Nieto has publicly rejected Trump's promise.
During their Jan. 27 phone call, Pena Nieto reiterated his position that Mexico wouldn't cover the cost of the wall, but agreed to stop talking about it.
"This is what I suggest, Mr. President — let us stop talking about the wall," Pena Nieto said. "I have recognized the right of any government to protect its borders as it deems necessary and convenient. But my position has been and will continue to be very firm saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall."