Mexico's president has cancelled a planned meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, deepening the rift between the two countries over Trump's announced border wall.
President Enrique Pena Nieto announced on Twitter that he would not attend Tuesday's planned visit at the White House.
Esta mañana hemos informado a la Casa Blanca que no asistiré a la reunión de trabajo programada para el próximo martes con el @POTUS.— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) January 26, 2017
Speaking from a congressional Republican retreat in Philadelphia later on Thursday, Trump said the two leaders agreed to cancel the meeting because it would be "fruitless" if Mexico won't agree to pay for the wall.
"The president of Mexico and myself have agreed to cancel our planned meeting scheduled for next week," Trump said. "Unless Mexico treats the United States fairly, with respect, such a meeting would be fruitless and I want to go a different route. We have no choice."
WATCH: Trump on canceling US-Mexico meeting
Trump also blasted the NAFTA trade deal, calling it a “total disaster” for the U.S., and said costs the U.S. as much as $60 billion each year in trade deficits to Mexico.
“Not to mention millions of jobs and thousands and thousands of factories and plants closing down all over our country,” he said. “On top of that are the trillions of dollars the U.S. taxpayers have spent to pay the cost of illegal immigration.”
Trump expressed similar sentiments in a pair of Twitter posts earlier on Thursday.
The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2017
The controversy over the border wall has been a feature of Trump's relationship with Mexico, since he first announced his presidential bid in June 2015 with a plan to build the wall and force Mexico to pay for it.
Trump and Pena Nieto met in August in Mexico city to discuss immigration, the border wall and other issues. Trump said that he and Pena Nieto did not discuss who would pay for the proposed wall. However Pena Nieto later wrote on Twitter that he opened their conversation telling Trump that Mexico would not pay.
Later that month, Pena Nieto's approval rating sank to 23% and has since fallen to 12%, the lowest recorded for a Mexican president. Trump's approval rating stands at roughly 45%, the lowest of any incoming American president.