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President Donald Trump’s lies and bombastic rhetoric have once again been brought to light — this time, in the form of a phone call with Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto.
The Washington Post obtained transcripts of two phone calls the president took: one between himself and Nieto, and another with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. While speaking with Nieto, Trump exposes the fact that his most notorious campaign promise was just another fabrication.
In a Jan. 27 conversation Trump told Nieto:
“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, and the reason I say they are going to pay for the wall is because Mexico has made a fortune out of the stupidity of U.S. trade representatives.”
Only Trump appeared to be in a political bind, however. Nieto just days before that phone call rejected the idea of a wall altogether. In a blog post dated Jan. 23 titled “10 Objectives of the Government of the Republic in the negotiation with the USA” (translated from Spanish), Nieto called for “a border that unites and does not divide.”
“While Mexico recognizes the rights of every sovereign nation to guarantee its security, Mexico does not believe in the walls,” Nieto stated. “Our country believes in bridges, road and railroad crossings, and the use of technology as the best allies, to A good neighborhood.”
Despite this stated opposition, Trump continued begging with Nieto during the phone call that took place several days later:
“Because you and I are both at a point now where we are both saying we are not to pay for the wall. From a political standpoint, that is what we will say. 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. I am willing to say that we will work it out, but that means it will come out in the wash and that is okay. But you cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall. I am just going to say that we are working it out. Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important talk about.”
Nieto also told Trump directly that talking about the wall was a waste of their time.
“This is what I suggest, Mr. President – let us stop talking about the wall,” he said, adding, “my position has been and will continue to be very firm saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall.”
“But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that. You cannot say that to the press because I cannot negotiate under those circumstances,” Trump said.
“Let us leave this topic – let us put it aside and let us find a creative way of looking into this issue,” Nieto said. “And let us move forward on other issues that I think are positive for both of our countries.”
“Okay, Enrique, that is fine and I think it is fair,” Trump answered, adding, “Because from an economic issue, it is the least important thing we were talking about, but psychologically, it means something so let us just say ‘we will work it out.’”
Trump said repeatedly while on the campaign trail — and even after taking office — that Mexico would in fact pay for the border wall.
“I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall,” he said in his campaign announcement speech.
“Build the wall!” was a frequent cry from Trump’s supporters at his rallies.
Despite Nieto’s clear opposition in January, Trump continued touting the idea of building the wall.
Trump’s concern about being in “a political bind” and his appearance to the press also speaks to another campaign lie.
Trump tried to distance himself from the political game and its players in Washington by frequently saying he is not a politician.
When announcing his bid for presidency Trump said, “Well, you need somebody, because politicians are all talk, no action. Nothing’s gonna get done. They will not bring us — believe me — to the promised land. They will not.”
During his first campaign stop, which took place in Iowa, he said, “I’m almost more disappointed in Republican politicians, and even the people running for office. And I watch them all the time. … I say, ‘People just want a job.’”
“I’m not a politician. Politicians are all talk and no action, Chris, and I’m the opposite,” Trump told Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “New Day” in August 2015.
Many of his supporters rallied behind him because they don’t see him as a politician. In a BBC video, one supporter called him the “Screw you, Washington” vote.
Even the media got behind this idea, with The Independent publishing an article the day after the election called “Donald Trump is no politician, and that’s why America loves him – his victory speech proved that.”
Interestingly, the fact that Trump could not get Nieto to agree to build and pay for a wall also highlights another “alternative fact” Trump spewed during his presidential announcement speech:
“So I’ve watched the politicians. I’ve dealt with them all my life. If you can’t make a good deal with a politician, then there’s something wrong with you. You’re certainly not very good. And that’s what we have representing us. They will never make America great again.”