Mexican official denies helping Trump write border wall speech

By Rafael Bernal - 02/10/17 10:46 AM EST

Mexico's top diplomat is denying a report that he helped President Trump draft a speech about U.S. relations with Mexico.

"I never thought I would use this phrase, but today I'm doing it: FAKE NEWS," Mexican Secretary of Foreign Relations Luis Videgaray tweeted on Thursday.

Videgaray was likely referring to a CBS News story on Thursday that claimed he met privately in the Oval Office with Trump and presidential adviser Jared Kushner and helped draft a speech announcing Trump's border wall executive order.

A White House source also denied to CBS News that Videgaray played a role in drafting the speech, disputing Mexican officials' version of the events.

According to the CBS report, which cites unnamed sources, Videgaray was upset by the tone of the speech and warned the two that it would seriously harm relations. Videgaray and Kushner pushed Trump to soften his stance on Mexico in the speech.In the speech, Trump announced his executive order directing federal agencies to begin working toward constructing a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The speech was delivered the same day Trump signed the order.

Videgaray was also in Washington that day for meetings with top White House staff, along with Mexican Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo.

Despite Videgaray's alleged intervention, the executive order and Trump's insistence that Mexico pay for the wall led to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's announcement the following morning that he was canceling a scheduled trip to Washington.

A similar report in The Washington Post said Videgaray's influence in the White House has him on first name basis with aides. The Post also reported Kushner was invited to a private meeting between Videgaray and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Despite the denials, some see Videgaray's influence in Trump's relations with Mexico.

While Trump has insisted that Mexico will pay for the wall, he has also raised other issues, including the problem of American guns being smuggled south. That issue, long a concern for Mexico, had been mostly dealt with behind closed doors by previous administrations.

When Trump visited Peña Nieto in Mexico City in August, both men openly talked about the smuggling of guns and illicit cash from the United States to Mexico. That marked a departure from traditional Mexican foreign policy, where efforts were taken to avoid explicit criticism of the United States.