During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump insisted Mexico would pay for a new border wall. In conversation with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, Trump was not as adamant, a leaked transcript reveals. At various points throughout the conversation, President Trump urges Peña Nieto to stop saying Mexico would not pay for the wall in public, while seemingly admitting that funding will be more complicated than he insisted.
At one point during the conversation, Trump says,
We should both say, 'We will work it [the funding] out.' It will work out in the formula somehow. As opposed to you saying, 'We will not pay,' and me saying, 'We will not pay.'
At another point, he agains insists Peña Nieto not tell the press Mexico will not pay for the wall, saying,
But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that, and I cannot live with that.
The Washington Post also obtained a transcript of another January call, between Trump and Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Records of both calls reveal other highlights, including during the call, including Trump saying he had a better call with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the president calling New Hampshire a "drug-infested den".
Without the benefit of audio, of course, there is less of an indication of the president's tone during the conversations.
A day before the call with Peña Nieto, Trump tweeted about the subject of Mexico paying for a border wall, and asserting that he doesn't want to talk with the nation's representatives if they are not willing to pay.
At various point during the conversation, Trump reiterates that point, telling Peña Nieto,
We cannot say that anymore because if you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that.
Later in the call however, Trump agrees that he and Peña Nieto should be more discreet about negotiations and plans for funding, adding that he would rather tell the press the two leaders are "working it out."
Despite that agreement, though, Trump contradicted that agreement last month. During the G20 summit in Europe last month, after being asked about border wall funding, Trump said Mexico would "absolutely pay for the wall, as Peña Nieto sat next to him.