At the end of his meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday, Donald Trump told journalists that the pair never discussed one of Trump's most controversial campaign planks: his pledge to force Mexico to pay for construction of a massive border wall.
"We didn't discuss payment of the wall," Trump said, adding that such a conversation would come "at a later date."
But after the news conference, Peña Nieto contradicted that claim, tweeting that he began the meeting with Trump by clarifying that Mexico would not pay for such a wall.
Al inicio de la conversación con Donald Trump dejé claro que México no pagará por el muro.
Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had a cordial but frank discussion for about an hour Wednesday at the presidential residence in Mexico City, the culmination of Trump's stunning but hastily planned trip to a country he has attacked repeatedly on the campaign trail, according to the men.
The men said they did not discuss whether Mexico would pay for a wall along the countries' shared border, a core campaign promise of the Republican presidential nominee. But Peña Nieto pointedly vowed to protect Mexican nationals living in the U.S. who contribute to prosperity and "deserve the respect of everyone.”
For his part, Trump said he was “straightforward in presenting my views about the impacts of current trade and immigration policies of the United States.”
Hillary Clinton invited a direct comparison between her record as the nation's chief diplomat and Donald Trump's readiness to lead the nation, dismissing her rival's jaunt to Mexico as a "photo op" that would do little to free him from a history of coarse rhetoric directed at the U.S. ally.
In a speech at the American Legion's national convention in Cincinnati, the former secretary of State said America's status as a global power could be imperiled by Trump's intemperate behavior as she cast the fall election not as one about ideology, but about who was best suited to assume the mantle of global leadership.
Clinton declared that the idea that the United States is an exceptional nation has been a core belief that "has guided and inspired me every step of the way." Trump, she said, agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin when he criticized that notion as insulting to the rest of the world.
Recent U.S. presidents have tended to fall into two categories when dealing with tough foreign policy issues and leaders abroad.
There's the cowboy diplomacy of President George W. Bush, who memorably looked Russian President Vladimir Putin in the eye, dispatched with the "diplomatic chit chat" and got "a sense of his soul." Bush invited Putin back to his Texas ranch, but in the end likely underestimated the Russian leader.
On the other hand, President Obama has taken a more scholarly approach, a painstaking dance of diplomacy and negotiations like the years-long effort that produced the Iran nuclear deal. But critics say he couldn't bargain for a used car.