In a surprise turn of events, Donald J. Trump packed his bags, put them in his private jet and flew south. However, in this trip he did not stop to a border city just like he did last year when he visited our Laredo. He went even further south, directly to Mexico City.
Invited by Mexican President Enrique Peña-Nieto, Mexico’s Presidential hopeful did not hesitate to take the invitation, and met with the president at Los Pinos. It might not have been very suppressive since almost a week earlier Trump had suggested in an interview with FOX News’ Sean Hannity that he might consider a softer approach regarding his immigration policy since he was “not looking to hurt people,” referring that a massive deportation of immigrants might lead to the breakup thousands of immigrant families. Everything was pointing that a more tolerant immigration policy might lure some Hispanic votes in his favor which is crucial seen his support amongst the demographic has been decreasing since he first started his presidential campaign.
“We may not agree on certain topics, but his presence here, Mr. Trump, demonstrates that we have a fundamental coincidence. Our respective countries are very important, one for the other. The U.S. is very important for Mexico just the same as Mexico is very important for the United States. We share the most travelled border through which every day, legally, more than a million people cross it and over 400,000 vehicles.” said Peña-Nieto as he welcomed Trump to his nation.
Peña-Nieto’s trip has been extremely puzzling to the Mexican citizens. Trump favorability in that country is reported somewhere at two percent. Though he did invite Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump was responsive. Without a doubt, Trump used this opportunity to express a presidential image.
While in Mexico, he met in private for a few hours with Peña-Nieto, and eventually held a press conference after the meeting where both he and the president assisted. During the press conference Trump acted very civil or in better terms “presidential,” compared when he speaks at his rallies, and answered questions.
“I have many friends, so many friends and so many friends coming to Mexico and in Mexico. I am proud to say how many people I employ” said Trump as he started his speech in Mexico. He was vocal regarding trade agreements especially NAFTA.
“I shared my strong view that NAFTA has been a far greater benefit to Mexico than it has … must take action to stem this tremendous outflow of jobs from our country”, said Trump.
The biggest question that the Mexican journalists pondered was about payment of Trump’s wall. The massive wall is expected to come with a massive bill. Funding the military is hard in enough in congress. According to Trump’s proposal, the wall is to be paid for by Mexico. When asked about if the two discussed payment, he responded as such:
“I mean nothing like an easy question like that. We did discuss the wall. We didn’t discuss payment of the wall. That’ll be for a later date. This was a very preliminary meeting.”
He also mentioned how NAFTA had to remodel to today’s standards as it does not “reflect the realities of today.” As predicted, there was a question regarding his policy of the wall. He said that during the meeting there was no discussion of the wall. Everything looked positive in fact many suggested it had been a positive move to his campaign given the fact that he had been polling behind Hillary Clinton in most polls. This could have in fact have given him a small push for the Hispanic vote, especially that his numbers are really low in the Hispanic population, mainly due to his comments generalizing that Mexican immigrants are for the most part “rapist” and “criminals.”
The tides soon change as his private jet arrived again in the state of Arizona to have one of his famous Trump rallies. Many were waiting for a pivot from his earlier policy, hopefuls for such pivot were greatly disappointed as soon as his speech finished. He restated that during his presidency there would be no amnesty for undocumented immigrants and re-assured his followers that there was going to be a “big”, “beautiful” and “impenetrable” border wall that Mexico would pay for.
Moreover, the Republican Presidential nominee also stated “And you can call it deported if you want. The press doesn’t like that term. You can call it whatever the hell you want. They’re gone.”
He also suggested that he would increase the number of border patrol officers. “We’re also going to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents”, said Trump. Peña-Nieto amongst hearing this soon tweeted that during the meeting there had in fact been a talk regarding a wall and to which he assured Trump that Mexico would not pay for it, “Repeating what I told you in person, Mr. Trump: Mexico will never pay for a wall”.
Trump’s visit and rhetoric in Mexico was confusing. It was a clever move politically, but very contrasting as to how he presents himself domestically. His calm nature could be obvious result in being a place where he is not liked, so he will throw words that his audience to eat up. Back home, his supporters agree and cheer to most of what he says. For Peña-Nieto, he may have performed strategically.
As president, Peña-Nieto can openly speak out on such things as does his predecessor, Vincente Fox. Bringing Trump to Mexico and formally introducing him and his policies to his people may have his own political maneuver. Peña-Nieto can say that he have personally met and heard Trump, and can officially disagree with him.