The Associated Press is reporting that President Donald Trump warned Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto that if Mexico didn’t take care of the “bad hombres” south of the border, he might take action on his own.
But CNN has a radically different account of the phone call, in which Trump offered to help Mexico, not to invade it.
According to an excerpt of the transcript of the call with Peña Nieto provided to CNN, Trump said, “You have some pretty tough hombres in Mexico that you may need help with. We are willing to help with that big-league, but they have be knocked out and you have not done a good job knocking them out.”
Trump made an offer to help Peña Nieto with the drug cartels.
The excerpt of the transcript obtained by CNN differs with an official internal readout of the call that wrongly suggested Trump was contemplating sending troops to the border in a hostile way.
The AP report relied on just one source, and it was hedged with denials from Mexican officials. The White House denied the AP’s claim. “Reports that the President threatened to invade Mexico are false,” said a White House official. “Even the Mexican government is disputing these reports.”
Jorge Ramos, the Mexican-born news anchor at the U.S.-based Spanish-language Univision TV network, tweeted skepticism.
President Trump threatens to send U.S. troops to Mexico to take care of 'bad hombres'.But Mexico says it's not true https://t.co/RojEnWsjCh
— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) February 2, 2017
According to the AP’s anonymous source, Trump told the Mexican president via a phone call that there are “bad hombres down there” and he threatened to send the U.S. military into Mexico if Nieto’s troops won’t address the situation.
The AP reported:
“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Pena Nieto, according to the excerpt given to AP. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”
AP also reported that a spokesman for Mexico’s foreign relations department said the AP the account “is based on absolute falsehoods.”
The Mexican official added, “The assertions that you make about said conversation do not correspond to the reality of it. The tone was constructive and it was agreed by the presidents to continue working and that the teams will continue to meet frequently to construct an agreement that is positive for Mexico and for the United States.”
The AP apparently stands by its sources.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.