Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton addresses workers and supporters at the Futuramic Tool & Engineering plant in Warren, Michigan on August 11, 2016. Photo by Rebecca Cook/UPI | License Photo
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump traded barbs over Trump's recent meeting with Mexico's president, with Clinton calling it a "diplomatic incident" and Trump defending "A-plus" grades for the meeting awarded by the press.
The back-and-forth between the candidates and their running mates came during dueling exclusive interviews with ABC News. Anchor David Muir first asked Clinton to respond to Trump's trip, asking whether she would do the same. Clinton said she would not visit Mexico before the election, but criticized Trump for his trip.
Clinton noted conflicting accounts of the meeting between Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto over the subject of paying for Trump's proposed border wall.
"What happened is what we call a diplomatic incident. [Trump] came out saying one thing and the Mexican president contradicted him almost immediately," Clinton said.
During a joint press conference after their closed-door meeting, Trump said the issue of paying for the wall, which he has made a central one in his campaign, was not broached. After Trump left, Pena Nieto took to Twitter, saying he made it clear to Trump the Mexican government would not pay for the wall.
Clinton said Trump's failure to address a major point of concern meant he "got beat in the room," according to a press statement released last week.
She reiterated that point to ABC.
"He didn't raise it so he did choke," she said.
Asked to respond, Trump shot back the press gave him high marks for his meeting with the Mexican president.
"I've been given A-plus, including from [ABC] ... for the job I did in Mexico," Trump said.
Muir asked Trump whether Pena Nieto agreed the issue of the wall would be avoided as a precondition for the meeting, then broke the terms afterward amid intense domestic criticism for not appearing tougher in their press conference. Trump, who is deeply unpopular in the country for past remarks likening Mexican immigrants to criminals, implied that was what happened.
"The fact is that Mexico will pay for the wall. It was discussed that it wouldn't be discussed. They know my stance and I know their stance. We had ground rules and that's OK. See who wins in the end. We'll win," Trump said.