President Donald Trump said Thursday that a meeting with the Mexican president would be “fruitless,” saying a planned session next week had been mutually canceled.
“Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless, and I want to go a different route. I have no choice,” Trump said during a GOP retreat in Philadelphia.
Trump was speaking hours after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced he was canceling his trip to the White House for talks with Trump.
The President is speaking Republicans after a tumultuous first week in office, which saw controversies flare that many in the GOP had hoped to avoid.
His fixation on inaugural crowd size, debunked claims of voter fraud, and a rehashing of the debate over Iraq’s oil have all led to some grumbling on Capitol Hill that Trump is focusing on trivial matters over policy.
In his first meeting with lawmakers at the White House on Monday, Trump repeated claims that millions of votes were cast illegally in November’s election, which is inaccurate. Some in the room said they were surprised Trump maintained his insistence on the matter, hoping he’d move on now that he’s in office.
Trump will rely on Republican members of Congress to advance areas of his agenda that aren’t possible by executive action, like appropriating funds for the border wall and making changes to laws governing refugees and visas.
Yet his executive actions on immigration, trade and hiring have drawn praise from lawmakers, who are eager to make good use of Republican control at the White House and in Congress to enact a conservative agenda.