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Tensions Escalate Between Trump and Nieto Over Border Wall

In the past 24 hours, relations between the U.S. and Mexican presidents have evolved from a war of words into policy pronouncements.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Mexican President Enrique Nieto intensified their conflict over Trump’s proposed border wall between Mexico and the United States over the past 24 hours.

After Trump signed an executive order authorizing the construction of the border wall, Nieto restated that Mexico would not pay for the wall. Trump repeatedly claimed that Mexico would pay for the full cost of the wall during the 2016 election.

In an interview aired Wednesday night with ABC’s David Muir, Trump scoffed at Nieto’s refusals, saying, “He has to say that. He has to say that.” Trump further insisted that Mexico would pay for the wall in some form.

Then, on Thursday, Trump suggested on Twitter that Nieto should cancel their meeting next week if he refused to pay for the wall.

Nieto took Trump up on his offer, canceling their meeting.

Shortly thereafter, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer floated the idea of a 20% border tax on goods coming into the United States from Mexico. Spicer argued that the revenue from such a tax could easily pay for the wall.

Given Trump’s plan to start construction of the wall within “months” and his continued insistence that Mexico shoulder the cost, the possibility for tensions between the two countries to increase will remain a constant.