President Donald Trump appeared to describe his proposed border wall as a political tool and admit he knew Mexico would not fund it in a January call with Mexico’s president, according to a transcript of the call obtained by The Washington Post.
Building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and compelling Mexico to pay for it was a top Trump campaign promise.
Trump told President Enrique Pena Nieto he realized funding for the barrier likely would not come from Mexico, according to the Post, but Trump pressured the Mexican president to stop publicly saying his country would not fund the wall.
“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,” Trump said, according to the Post transcript.
Trump also said the wall was “the least important thing we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important.”
Trump requested federal funding to construct the barrier. The House last week approved a $1.6 billion down payment for it, though the money may not get approved by the Senate.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the president’s remarks about the wall.