Despite Trump campaign promise, Tillerson had 'no conversation' with Mexico paying for border wall

"It's just not part of our discussions," Secretary of State Tillerson said.

ByABC News
April 9, 2017, 9:01 AM

— -- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he had “no conversation” with his Mexican counterpart about whether Mexico will pay for a border wall between the two countries.

President Trump promised repeatedly in his election campaign that he would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border which Mexico would pay for.

But Tillerson said in an interview Sunday on “This Week” that the subject didn't come up last week in his meeting with Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray at the U.S. State Department.

“We had no conversation about that issue,” Tillerson told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.

“That's surprising to me ... since President Trump spoke about it so often during the campaign,” Stephanopoulos said. “Is it the policy of the United States that Mexico must pay for that wall?”

“George, it's just not part of our discussions between the foreign minister and myself,” Tillerson said.

The secretary of state said, however, that the two did discuss how to discourage immigration to the U.S., and he touted a decrease in border crossings since Trump took office.

"We have had I think very productive talks around actions that can be taken to slow and stem and discourage transmigration of people coming from Central America through Mexico and entering the United States," he said. "I'm sure you've seen the data that is coming out and the level of immigration, illegal crossings from Mexico whether it's of Mexican nationals, but in particular of Central American nationals has dropped dramatically, so I think Mexico is quite pleased and we've had a number of discussions with them on how we work together to continue to make further progress."

“We're also talking about how to organize an -- even a greater effort around transnational crime and counternarcotics to stem the flow of narcotics ... into the United States and the flow of weapons from the United States into Mexico that supports the cartels,” he added.

In a separate interview on "This Week" Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he met with the Mexican foreign minister as well, and the topic of who would pay for a wall along the southern border of the United States did come up.

"Let me just say, Mexico's not going to pay for the wall," the Florida senator and former Republican presidential candidate said. "And, by the way, America should, if we believe that's in our national interests to do so."

Rubio said he believes there are other issues that the United States and Mexico can work together on, including "renegotiating key points of NAFTA"

Additionally, Rubio believes the country has an interest in their own border security.

"I think they have a real interest in their border security, in their southern border," Rubio said. "I think Mexico's willing to be a partner in El Salvador, Guatemala, the Honduras, the Northern Triangle countries that are the source of a lot of the migration that's coming in through Mexico. Mexico's as much a transit point now as it is a source of origin for people coming into the United States."

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