Mexico has rejected Donald Trump’s claim its country’s president telephoned him to praise him for his immigration crackdown and tightening of border security.
It was the second time in two days that a claim by Mr Trump that he had received a congratulatory call about a controversial issue, was disputed.
Speaking earlier this week as he introduced his new Chief of Staff, John Kelly, Mr Trump praised his official’s work in his post as Secretary of Homeland Security.
“At Homeland, what he has done has been nothing short of miraculous,” Mr Trump said of Mr Kelly, a former four star general.
“As you know, the border was a tremendous problem and they’re close to 80 per cent stoppage. And even the president of Mexico called me – they said their southern border, very few people are coming because they know they’re not going to get through our border, which is the ultimate compliment.”
Yet Mexico has denied that President Enrique Peña Nieto ever made such a call to Mr Trump. A statement released by the Mexican Foreign Ministry, said Mr Pena Nieto “has not recently spoken to President Donald Trump over the telephone”.
The statement went on reference the only other time the two met and conversed on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit, according to the Associated Press.
“During the meeting the two heads of State held last July 7th in Hamburg, Germany, the topic of migration was a topic of conversation approached by both. President Peña Nieto shared that repatriations of Mexican nationals from the United States had fallen 31 per cent between January and June 2017 in comparison to the same timeframe in 2016,” the statement read.
Mr Trump has had a tense relationship with the Mexican leader, both before he was elected and after. When he was still a candidate, he took up an invitation to travel to Mexico City to meet him and discuss immigration. Mr Trump claimed they discussed the issue of a border wall, but not which country would pay for it.
The Mexican leader insisted he had told Mr Trump that Mexico would not pay for it.
In January, as controversy about the wall grew, Mr Peña Nieto cancelled a planned visit to Washington to meet with Mr Trump.
“This morning we have informed the White House that I will not attend the meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with the POTUS,” Mr Peña Nieto tweeted at the time.
This is the second time in two days that questions have been raised about a congratulatory telephone calls that Mr Trump claims to have received.