Trump Blames Bad Cell Service for Failure to Call Mexico After Earthquake

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump in the White House's Roosevelt Room on September 5. He has blamed bad cellphone service for his failure to call Mexico sooner after it was hit by an earthquake. Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump has claimed the reason he did not reach out to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto immediately after the country’s huge earthquake was because there was no cellphone reception in Mexico.

The president was asked why he had not yet contacted Peña Nieto following last Thursday’s magnitude 8.1 earthquake in Mexico that left at least 96 people dead, prompting White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to claim on Tuesday that a phone call between the pair was imminent.

And following up on that pledge, the president days later said he had managed to call Peña Nieto, claiming that poor cell service had prevented him from doing so earlier.

His tweet was immediately criticized by fellow Twitter users.

“It’s been a week and a half. If you didn’t have cell phone service or three days why couldn’t you contact him after that?” user Ed Krassenstein‏ wrote. Another, David Putnam‏, said, “Wow, Trump is just now getting to the Mexico earthquake disaster. Most (good) people would send condolences immediately.”

It had been noted that Trump had not reached out to Mexico after the country was hit by two natural disasters—the earthquake and Hurricane Katia—in a short space of time, prompting Mexico to withdraw its offer of aid to the U.S. after Hurricane Harvey.

Mexico had earlier offered help after Harvey hit Texas, saying it was what good neighbors did. Trump never issued a response to that offer.

A statement released by Mexico’s foreign ministry said, “Given this situation, the Mexican government will channel all available logistical support to the families and communities that have been affected in Mexico and has informed the Texas and U.S. governments that, unfortunately, on this occasion, it won’t be possible to provide the assistance originally offered to Texas in late August in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.”