Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine believes Donald Trump "choked" during his surprise sit-down with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
"He sort of folded under pressure and didn't have the backbone to say to the Mexican president what he's been saying over and over again," the Virginia senator said Thursday on TODAY. "That tells me something about his backbone and resolve."
On Wednesday, the GOP presidential candidate flew to Mexico — the nation he has constantly vilified during his campaign — after accepting a meeting invitation from Peña Nieto. The two spoke about the wall Trump promised to build between the two nations, but emerged telling different stories.
"We did discuss the wall; we didn't discuss payment of the wall," Trump told reporters alongside Peña Nieto after their meeting. "That will be for a later date."
But the Mexican leader pushed back on that view later in the evening.
"At the start of my conversation with Donald Trump I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall," Peña Nieto tweeted.
Trump, subdued during his meeting in Mexico, changed his tone after he crossed the border to deliver a fiery speech in Arizona, where he promised to create a "deportation task force" if elected president. Kaine mocked the discrepancy.
"But when he’s looking the leader of Mexico in the eye, he can't bring himself to say it?" he said. "Yesterday was an interesting display of a diplomatic lack of resolve."
Kaine said it also showed what kind of inconsistent leader the Republican would be in the White House.
"Donald Trump choked on the fundamental promise he's making on his campaign," he said.
Peña Nieto said he also extended an invitation to Hillary Clinton, but the campaign has not disclosed its response.
Recent polls show the race between the two White House hopefuls tightening. Although Clinton maintains a lead over Trump, the gap has narrowed to within, or close to, the margin of error of some surveys. Kaine said he anticipated a difficult battle from the beginning.
“I’ve always assumed this race would be hard," he said. "We’re feeling good about our position in a number of the true battleground states, but we do not feel any sense of complacency."