President Donald Trump has threatened Mexican leader Enrique Pena Nieto with the prospect of military action if his country doesn’t do more to control what he sees as “bad hombres.”
In a feisty phone call between the two world leaders earlier this week, the newly sworn-in president raised the ugly specter of ordering the U.S. military to action to deal with the situation.
The Associated Press added Nieto’s response was not included in the part of the exchange leaked to the media and remains publicly unknown.
It is also unclear just whom Trump was referring to as the “bad hombres,” with speculation being he could have been speaking about drug cartels, immigrants, or perhaps even both.
Trump’s fiery words immediately shocked many lifelong political observers as a major deter from the normal rules of engagement between world leaders and also suggested that his tone as president has not changed much from the often blunt and abrasive style he employed in his run to the White House and upset win over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Ironically enough, the phone call between the two leaders was pegged as an opportunity for them to patch up their suddenly fragmented relationship.
Throughout his campaign run and now even since he’s taken office, Trump has vowed to force the Mexican government to foot the bill for a border wall he plans to build along the Mexican border as part of a plan to keep illegal immigrants out of the U.S.
Up until now, Mexican leaders have insisted they have no intentions of following through on Trump’s demands.
“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” AP reported Trump told Pena Nieto. “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.”
Prior to their phone conversation, Nieto canceled a planned visit to the U.S., right around the time Trump began boasting about plans to possibly slap Mexico with a 20 percent tax on all imports as a way of having them fund the construction of the wall.
Currently, the two nations engage in roughly $1.6 billion cross-border trade each day, working hand in hand on everything from migration to anti-drug enforcement to major environmental issues.
Trump has previously used the term “bad hombres” to refer to the likes of drug lords and others he has also vowed to remove from the U.S. if he became commander in chief.
“We have some bad hombres here, and we’re going to get them out,” he said during an October presidential debate.
Since taking office just four weeks ago, Trump has consistently turned heads with some of his most controversial actions, including the temporary ban he recently placed on refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The new president has now installed son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner with managing the ongoing dispute, despite him having no experience in foreign policy and only a background in the area of real estate development.
Trump also recently sparked controversy by blasting by the Obama administration’s deal to allow Muslim refugees turned away by Australia into the country as “dumb” and vowed to review it for possible changes.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull subsequently declined to reveal any details about his first phone call with Trump as president, though he did reveal the deal brokered with the Obama administration still stands.
“It’s better that these things — these conversations — are conducted candidly, frankly, privately,” he added. In a later interview with a Sydney radio station, he denied widespread reports Trump had hung up the phone on him in mid-discussion.
[Featured Image by Michael Reynolds/Getty Images]