Transcript for Mexican President Cancels White House Visit
Thursday night, and we begin with the showdown over the wall. President trump telling us just 24 hours ago that Americans will pay at first, but Mexico will pay us back. Tonight, the Mexican president saying that won't happen. And there is new fallout. President Pena Nieto's meeting now canceled. ABC's Jonathan Karl at the white house. Reporter: Mexico may insist it's not going to happen, but today Donald Trump was as defiant as ever. I've said many times that the American people will not pay for the wall. And I have made that clear to the government of Mexico. Reporter: This only 24 hours after the president signed his order to begin the process of building the border wall with American money. Something the president described to David as basically a down payment. We will be in a form, reimbursed by Mexico. They will pay us back? Yeah, absolutely. 100%. Reporter: Just hours after that interview, Mexican president Pena Nieto shot back. In an address to the American people, "I've said it once and again," he said. Adding, "Mexico offers and demands respect as the sovereign nation we are." Today, he abruptly canceled his scheduled visit to Washington. Since day one of his campaign, trump's relationship with Mexico has been rocky. Still, he traveled there to meet with Pena Nieto last year, and we asked about the wall. The wall, is it a nonstarter? Is there any chance Mexico pays for the wall? We did discuss the wall. We didn't discuss payment of the wall. That'll be for a later date. This was a very preliminary meeting. Reporter: Since then, Mexico's president has been consistent. No way will Mexico pay. Mexico's president said in recent days that Mexico absolutely will not pay, adding that it goes against our dignity as a country, and our dignity as Mexicans. He says, quite simply, that they're not paying. Well, David, he has to say that. He has to say that. But I'm just telling you there will be a payment. It will be in a form, perhaps a complicated form. And you have to understand, what I'm doing is good for the United States, it's also going to be good for Mexico. Reporter: The two leaders were scheduled to meet next week at the white house, but after the Mexican officials hinted they might pull out, trump tweeted today -- "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting." Three hours later, Pena Nieto tweeted back, "This morning we he had informed the white house he would not be intending the meeting. Later, trump insisted the cancellation was a mutual decision. The president of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting scheduled for next week. Unless Mexico is going to treat the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless, and I want to go a different route. Jon Karl live at the white house tonight. The white house saying there both sides canceled. We don't know who moved to call this off first. But speaker Ryan did acknowledge that American taxpayers will pay for the wall at first, but anything on how they might get paid back? Reporter: Sean spicer floated the idea of paying for the wall with a 20% border tax on goods imported from Mexico, but later, the white house clarified that is one hypothetical idea, and not something signed off on. In the meantime, Jon, as the president moves forward with fe building the wall, now ousted? Reporter: He is gone, effective January 31st. We are told he wasn't fired for cause, but simply the president wanted to move in another direction. You may remember trump was endorsed by the union represented border patrol agents. He was not popular with that union. Thank you. President trump taking air force one for the first time today, and at one point allowing cameras on board.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.