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Trump and Mexican president agree to cease public statements about border wall

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AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

President Donald Trump spoke Friday with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who cancelled his upcoming meeting with Trump amid their feud about a border wall along the U.S.'s southern perimeter, and the two men came to an understanding.

A statement from the White House said Trump and Peña Nieto "had a productive and constructive call regarding the bilateral relationship between the two countries."

The two leaders discussed the trade deficit the U.S. has with Mexico, the friendship between the two nations and the need to quell the flow of illegal drugs and weapons across the southern border.

Mexico said that both Trump and Peña Nieto have agreed to cease public statements about payment for the wall, which the U.S. president has long promised would be funded by Mexico.

"With respect to payment for the border wall, both presidents recognize their clear and very public differences of positions on this issue but have agreed to work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship," the White House statement read.

During a joint press conference with Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, Trump was asked about the call and he described a "very, very friendly" discussion with Peña Nieto. However, he stood firm on his vow to be tough with Mexico when it comes to trade.

"Mexico ... has out-negotiated us and beat us to a pulp through our past leaders," the president told reporters. "They have made us look foolish."

"We're no longer going to be the country that doesn't know what it's doing," he added.

Trump's comments to the press is in keeping with what he posted Friday morning on his personal Twitter account, which was retweeted by the official presidential Twitter handle.

Peña Nieto scrapped the meeting with Trump, which was slated for next Tuesday, after Trump tweeted Thursday that it "would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting" with the Mexican leader if his country "is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall."

White House press secretary Sean Spicer, following the blowup between Trump and Peña Nieto, endorsed the idea of a 20 percent border tax on goods from Mexico as a way to pay for the border wall, which was foundational to Trump's campaign for president.

The Mexican president, for his part, reaffirmed his stance that Mexico will not pay for the wall in a brief televised address Thursday.

"I regret and condemn the decision of the United States to continue construction of a wall that, for years, has divided us instead of uniting us," Peña Nieto said. "Mexico does not believe in walls."

"I’ve said time and again; Mexico won’t pay for any wall," he concluded.

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