Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto should not have had invited Donald Trump to Mexico City for a closed-door meeting. Peña Nieto wanted to invite Hillary Clinton but to extend an invitation only to Clinton without one to Trump would tantamount to playing with fire. After all, nobody can guarantee that Trump will not win the 2016 presidential election.
Mexicans, however, were left scratching their heads as to why their president would agree to meet with someone so controversial – someone who has said Mexico is home to rapists, drug dealers and criminals. President Enrique Peña Nieto and his advisers probably thought Donald Trump would not accept his invitation, but was caught off guard when Trump happily snatched the opportunity.
Peña Nieto, who has previously compared Trump to Hitler and Mussolini, is himself a very unpopular president with approval rating at just 23%. But the Mexican president wants to appear like a true statesman who is above the insults hurled by Trump. Inviting Trump to Mexico was bold and potentially rewarding should he decides to tone down in his desperate attempt to woo conservative Hispanics.
It was a wishful thinking because Trump is highly unpredictable, not to mention as “The Apprentice” reality TV star he’s a master at playing to the camera. Trump arrived at the Mexico City International Airport on a private plane and subsequently flew to the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto official residence – Los Pinos – by helicopter.
After the Wednesday meeting, Peña Nieto tells reporters that their meeting with the Republican nominee at the president’s official residence in Mexico City was “open and constructive.” Meanwhile, Republican Donald Trump calls his surprise visit to Mexico City, his first foreign visit as his party’s nominee, a “great honour.”
Of course, Hillary Clinton’s camp didn’t take Trump’s visit to Mexico City happily. Firing at Trump, Clinton said – “You don’t build a coalition by insulting our friends or acting like a loose cannon. You do it by putting in the slow, hard work of building relationships. Getting countries working together was my job every day as your secretary of state. It’s more than a photo op.”
But Clinton’s lecture doesn’t hurt Trump any more than it already had. In fact, Trump should send a “Thank You” note to the Mexican president for granting him the meeting, and emerges thereafter standing next to Peña Nieto like a potential President of the United States. Peña Nieto was observed as treating Donald Trump as a quasi-president already.
Clearly, Clinton’s camp was absolutely furious that Mexico had invited Trump. While it’s true that Hillary was invited too, she already has zillions of videos and photos showing her on the world stage playing her role as the former U.S. Secretary of State. Trump, on the other hand, had none, until today, and that’s extremely priceless.
The stunt didn’t stop there. Grinning from ear to ear, Donald Trump told his fans in Phoenix after his successful trip to Mexico City that his infamous Mexico Wall will be built. Like a broken record, he reiterated that Mexico will foot the bill. He boasted – “We will build a great wall along the southern border. And Mexico will pay for the wall. 100 percent.”
He says – “They don’t know it yet, but they’re going to pay for” it. Trump pledged to employ technologies to harden the barrier, including “above and below ground sensors” along with “towers, aerial surveillance and manpower.” President Enrique Peña Nieto later tweeted in Spanish – “From the start of the conversation, I made it clear Mexico will not pay for that wall.”
So, did Donald Trump lie again about Mexico agreeing to pay for the construction of a massive wall on the U.S.-Mexico border? Not exactly. When both Trump and Nieto emerged from the meeting, Trump told reporters they discussed the wall, but not paying for it. The Mexican president has only denied the part about payment, not about the wall.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume both leaders were agreeable to building a wall along the 2,000-mile shared border. But where does the funding come from which Trump insists would come from Mexico? Simple – just divert money that Washington sends to Mexico each year, which amounted to more than US$400 million in foreign aid in 2013 alone.
At the same meeting in Phoenix, Trump also told thousands of supporters that “you cannot obtain legal status by entering the country illegally.” Those in U.S. illegally have “one route and one route only: to return home and apply for re-entry like anybody else.” Trump says he will force nations to accept the return of their citizens who have been deported from the U.S. after being accused of crimes.
Trump claims at least 23 countries refuse to take their citizens – numbering at least 13,000 people – back after they’ve been ordered to leave. Using the opportunity, Trump criticized the Obama administration for practicing a “catch and release – non-enforcement policy” that allows thousands of criminal aliens walking around freely, instead of sending them back to their home countries.
America, according to Trump, should return to an Eisenhower-era policy of repatriating illegal immigrants in large numbers. He said his administration will take a hard line on criminal aliens and the U.S. will be “moving them out on Day One.” After the trip, Mexicans are now angry at their own president. But Trump has clearly emerged a winner.
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