Mexican president tweets to Trump: ‘Mexico would never pay for a wall’
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Mexico’s president on Thursday took a page from Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE’s playbook, picking a fight with the GOP presidential nominee on Twitter.

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Enrique Peña Nieto responded to a Trump tweet reading “Mexico will pay for the wall!” on Thursday afternoon.

“I repeat what I told you personally, Mr. Trump: Mexico would never pay for a wall,” Peña Nieto tweeted in Spanish:

The two met privately in Mexico on Wednesday as part of Trump's surprise visit. Trump said during a joint press conference afterward that the subject of who would pay for his proposed border wall was never discussed.

After Trump left, Peña Nieto said he told Trump privately that Mexico would not pay for the wall. 

Back in the U.S., the GOP nominee insisted at a Wednesday night campaign speech in Phoenix and repeatedly over social media that Mexico would pay for it. 

Trump's insistence that Mexico would pay for his proposed wall has been a signature of his campaign since it began last year. He frequently engages in call-and-response with crowds at his rallies, asking "Who's gonna pay for it?" with attendees responding, "Mexico!"

Around the same time as the tweet, Peña Nieto wrote a letter to Mexican newspaper El Universal saying he told Trump that the border is a joint challenge that requires a focus on shared responsibility.

"In my conversation with Trump about the border, I was also very clear: Mexico will not pay for any wall,” he wrote in Spanish. 

Peña Nieto wrote that in his conversation with Trump, he emphasized that the businessman’s past remarks have offended and hurt the Mexican people, who deserve his respect. He said Trump's response to the conversation was positive.

As in their Wednesday address, Peña Nieto underlined the important economic relationship between the two countries and said the flow of people, drugs, money and weapons over the border is a shared challenge that should be tackled together.

Jorge Ramos, a prominent Mexican news anchor, on Thursday blasted Peña Nieto for not confronting Trump sooner.

“And why didn’t you dare say it to Trump’s face at the press conference in front of dozens of journalists?” he asked on Twitter.

Ramos, an anchor for Fusion and Univision, has clashed with Trump repeatedly in the past. Trump’s campaign escorted Ramos out of a press conference last year for speaking when he was not called on.

Trump’s Wednesday huddle with Peña Nieto fueled speculation the billionaire might moderate his tone on immigration. He had teased openness to “softening” his immigration agenda.

But Trump quashed any such thoughts on Wednesday night, laying out a 10-point, hard-line immigration agenda in a Phoenix address.

“As with any law enforcement activity, we will set priorities,” he said.  “But unlike this administration, no one will be exempt from enforcement.

“Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation. That is what it means to have laws and to have a country. Otherwise we don’t have a country.”

Trump made clear that he would prioritize border security and ejecting dangerous illegal immigrants. But he swore off any type of legal status for those already in America illegally.

“For those here illegally today seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only — to return home and apply for reentry like everyone else under the rules of the new immigration system.”

Trump defeated one of the largest GOP presidential primary fields in recent memory by making illegal immigration a signature issue.

Critics say relying on that strategy now, however, risks alienating Hispanic and more moderate voters in the general election.

Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIf Mueller's report lacks indictments, collusion is a delusion Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report The wisdom of Trump's lawyers, and the accountability that must follow Mueller's report MORE’s campaign called Trump’s Phoenix speech a new low.

“In his darkest speech this year, Donald Trump doubled down on his anti-immigrant rhetoric and attempted to divide communities by pitting people against each other and demonizing immigrants,” the Clinton campaign’s national Hispanic vote director Lorella Praeli said in a statement.

Updated at 4:08 p.m.