After Silence, Trump Claims Bad Cell Phone Service Delayed Condolence Message to Mexico

Mattis is heading down to try and patch things up.

Antonio Nava/ZUMA

President Donald Trump said he spoke with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Thursday to offer his condolences after the country’s devastating earthquake last week that killed at least 90 people across the country. Trump claimed the conversation was pushed back by three days because Nieto could not be reached due to poor cell phone coverage.

Many were quick to point out that Nieto was in Mexico City on Wednesday, hundreds of miles away from where the earthquake struck, where cell coverage was still functioning. 

Trump’s explanation for the delay follows the Mexican government’s announcement Monday that it was rescinding its offer to aid the United States after Hurricane Harvey in the wake of its own natural disaster. The original offer included a plan to send trailers packed with food, 300 beds, and personnel to help Texas’s relief efforts.

In a statement announcing the offer’s withdrawal, Mexico’s foreign ministry appeared to hint at officials’ disappointment that it had taken the U.S. embassy nine days to even respond to the aid offer. Trump’s Twitter account, which he frequently takes uses to offer various messages of solidarity, was also conspicuously silent on Mexico. 

On Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will travel to Mexico to ease tensions amid increasingly strained relations between the two countries.