President Trump in a phone call with his Mexican counterpart threatened to send U.S. troops to stop “bad hombres down there” unless that country’s military does more to control them, and scrapped with Australia’s prime minister in another call.
“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, according to the excerpt given to The Associated Press.
“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.”
Australia’s leader meanwhile said his nation’s relationship with the U.S. remains “very strong” but refused to comment on a Washington Post report that an angry Trump cut short their first call. The report said Trump told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull an Obama administration plan to take refugees rejected by Australia was “the worst deal ever” and accused Turnbull of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.”
Turnbull also would not say whether Trump abruptly ended an expected hour-long talk 25 minutes in as Turnbull tried to steer the conversation to other topics. The excerpt of the Mexican call did not detail who exactly Trump considered “bad hombres,” nor did it make clear the tone and context of the remark, made in a Friday morning phone call between the leaders. It also did not contain Pena Nieto’s response.
Still, the incidents offer a rare and striking look at how the new president is conducting diplomacy behind closed doors. Trump’s remarks suggest he is using the same tough, blunt talk with world leaders that he used to rally crowds on the campaign trail.
A White House spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. The Mexican government said the account was not accurate.
The release of the partial transcript came as Republicans are losing patience with stonewalling and protests from a weakened Democratic minority. GOP leaders simply suspended rules to bypass boycotts and approve two cabinet picks yesterday.
The moves reinforced just how much Republicans hold the upper hand, commanding the White House and majorities in the House and Senate, and how little power Democrats wield after a humiliating election.
It also leaves Dems torn between trying to negotiate with Trump and Republicans for a piece of influence or abandoning all hope and spending the next four years obstructing to appease a partisan base. It was the same quandary the GOP were in eight years ago under former President Barack Obama.
Democrats have tried to stall Trump’s Cabinet picks, including boycotting confirmation hearings, which prevents committees from advancing the nominations for a full Senate vote.
But Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee shrugged off those protests yesterday by suspending committee rules and approving nominees for secretaries of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, and Health and Human Services, U.S. Rep. Tom Price. No Democrats were present.
Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah, who had accused Democrats of “acting like idiots” the day before, said they should be “ashamed” for missing yesterday’s meeting.
“I don’t feel a bit sorry for them,” said Hatch. “I don’t care what they want at this point.”