Saturday, August 05, 2017


Although I am a cautious libertarian and frequent critic of politicians of all parties, I also consider myself 'patriotic,' but no in the aggressive military sense.  This is my country, I want to live here and be proud of it.  Although we have had egregious periods in our history (slavery, Jim Crow, etc.) and numerous current problems, I still think we are, overall, the best country in the world.

I don't know how anyone who calls themselves and patriotic American cannot be embarrassed by  the President's negative remarks to foreign leaders about his own people (e.g. "New Hampshire is a den of dopers") and ask (plead/recommend/demand?) the Pres. of Mexico to tone it down on the wall as it is hurting Trump's popularity in the U.S.  The President is the one person who we expect to symbolize America and its sovereignty, competency, dignity  and pride.

One of Trump's biggest campaign promises was to build a wall along the Mexican border and have the Mexicans pay for it.  At rallies, he asked 'and who is going to pay for it?  His supporters responded loudly "Mexico."  There is no plan to get Mexico to pay for it and there never will be.  The whole idea of Mexico paying is a delusion. [parens and emphasis by blogger]

"But once Trump got on the phone with Peña Nieto, he neither made demands nor offered an ingenious deal that the Mexican president couldn't refuse. Instead, he wheedled for help in getting better press coverage, . . .
"I am willing to say that we will work it out, but that means it will come out in the wash and that is OK. But you cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall," Trump tells Peña Nieto.
As the conversation proceeds, though, Peña Nieto is unyielding: "[M]y position has been and will continue to be very firm saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall."
Trump doesn't try to convince him otherwise. He simply says, "But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that."

The White House has not denied the accuracy of the telephone transcripts

As President of a sovereign nation with an often-troubled relationship with it's larger neighbor, anyone with a lick of sense knows that Pena-Nieto cannot and will not give in.   He tries to tell Pena-Nieto to stop telling Mexicans that they will not pay for the U.S. wall. He offers no definite  carrot or stick with his offer.  I suspect Pena-Nieto now view Trump as a complete jerk, unfit to conduct international relations.  How many other national leaders now have the same opinion?  How can this Pres. negotiate for his national when he constantly changes his plans, tweets foreign policy changes, worries about how he will be viewed at home, etc.
The full transcripts are available and more details, including

"So what I would like to recommend is – if we are going to have continued dialogue – we will work out the wall. They are going to say, “who is going to pay for the wall, Mr. President?” to both of us, and we should both say, “we will work it out.” [There is no way in Hades that Mexico will contribute anything to paying for the wall]It will work out in the formula somehow. As opposed to you saying, “we will not pay” and me saying, “we will not pay.”

Because you and I are both at a point now where we are both saying we are not to pay for the wall. From a political standpoint, that is what we will say. We cannot say that anymore because 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. I am willing to say that we will work it out, but that means it will come out in the wash and that is okay. But you cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall. I am just going to say that we are working it out. Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important talk about. But in terms of dollars – or pesos – it is the least important thing. I know how to build very inexpensively, so it will be much lower than these numbers I am being presented with, and it will be a better wall and it will look nice. And it will do the job."

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