During a White House press conference Monday afternoon with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, President Donald Trump turned his attention to Mexico, doubling down on claims that his administration would force the Mexican government to fund a wall along the United States-Mexico border "one way or the other."
Trump also railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement, declaring that the Mexican government has been "very difficult" in efforts to renegotiate the treaty.
"We're right now negotiating NAFTA," Trump said, per a partial transcript of the discussion published in the Hill. "In my opinion Mexico's been very difficult, as they should be, why wouldn't they be?"
The remarks came on the tail end of a tense volley between Trump and the Mexican government, which began Sunday with a series of early morning tweets. Seemingly unprovoked, Trump asserted that, because Mexico is "one of the highest crime Nations in the world," the U.S. "must have THE WALL," adding that Mexico would pay via "reimbursement/other."
Mexico's Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded with a statement later that day that unequivocally rejected the notion it would partially or fully fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
"As the Mexican government has always stated, our country will not pay, under any circumstances, for a wall or physical barrier built on US territory along the Mexican border," the statement said, calling the matter "a principle of national sovereignty and dignity."
It added, for good measure, that the Mexican government "will not negotiate NAFTA, nor any other aspect of the bilateral relationship, through social media or any other news platform."