Trump, Mexican president agree to not debate wall in public

President Trump agreed not to publicly discuss payment of the border wall during an hourlong call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto Friday.

"With regards to the payment of the border wall, both Presidents recognized their clear and very public different positions on this very sensitive subject, and agreed to resolve these differences as part of an integral discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship," a statement from Peña Nieto's office said.

"The Presidents also agreed for now to not publicly talk about this controversial topic."

The White House in a statement confirmed the call with Peña Nieto had taken place. But while the statement is nearly identical to Mexico's, it does not explicitly state that Trump has agreed to not discuss the wall in public.


However, hours later White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters the two leaders did indeed agree to keep quiet about the wall. 

"They agreed not to discuss how it will be paid for publicly, that they will continue to have those discussions privately," he said. 

Speaking at a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Trump said the call was cordial, but doubled down on the need to renegotiate several aspects of the relationship with Mexico, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"Mexico with the United States has out-negotiated us and beat us to a pulp," said Trump.

Tensions are rising between Mexico and the U.S. in light of Trump's vow that Mexico will provide some form of payment to the U.S. for construction of a border wall.

Peña Nieto Thursday canceled a meeting with Trump after the president tweeted, "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting."

Mexico sent a cabinet-level delegation to Washington this week to set the stage for a potential renegotiation of NAFTA. 

"Let's remember that for now, [the Trump administration] can't begin negotiations until they request authorization for fast-track through the Trade Promotion Authority. Once requested, they have to go through 90 days of consultations and then they could begin negotiations," Mexican Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo told The Hill Thursday.

Trump stressed at the press conference that negotiations would extend beyond trade.

"The border is soft and weak, drugs are pouring in," Trump said.

"We are going to renegotiate our trade deals and we are going to renegotiate other aspects of our relationship with Mexico and in the end I think it will be good for both countries," he added.

Trump did not discuss payment of the border wall during the press conference.

Updated at 6:36 p.m. Jordan Fabian contributed.