Donald Trump Embarks on Controversial Trip to Mexico
Politics| | By Brian Delpozo
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is visiting Mexico Wednesday for a meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto hours before Trump delivers an anticipated speech on illegal immigration. The visit is being met with controversy, as Trump has repeatedly made disparaging remarks about the country and its people since his campaign began.
Trump has referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals,” and famously made one of the pillars of his campaign a promise to erect a wall on the southern border – paid for by Mexico – to curb illegal immigration.
Trump’s hardline stance on the issue has been credited by many as playing a big part in galvanizing his working class, white voter base.
I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him tomorrow.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2016
Trump’s standing in recent polls has seemingly been affecting his rhetoric in recent weeks however. As part of his campaign “reset,” Trump has been accused by some ardent supporters of “softening” his views on immigration. This has lead to his upcoming speech on the subject garnering so much interest.
The trip is controversial south of the border as well, with many Mexican people unhappy with the idea of their head of state visiting with Trump. In addition, Peña Nieto himself has an interesting history with the candidate, telling a Mexican newspaper earlier this year that Trump’s campaign had historical similarities to some of the world’s worst dictators.
“That’s how Mussolini got in, that’s how Hitler got in. They took advantage of a situation, a problem perhaps,” said Peña Nieto.
President Peña Nieto was in a much more welcoming mood this week, with his office tweeting, “In the past days, the President @EPN invited both U.S. presidential candidates to a dialogue on the bilateral relations between Mexico and the United States.”
The Clinton campaign responded to Trump’s visit through a statement, that read, “What ultimately matters is what Donald Trump says to voters in Arizona, not Mexico, and whether he remains committed to the splitting up of families and deportation of millions.”
The statement also spoke of Clinton’s own dealings with Peña Nieto, saying, “Secretary Clinton last met with President Peña Nieto in Mexico in 2014 and our campaign is in a regular dialogue with the Mexican government officials,” the aide added. “She looks forward to talking with President Peña Nieto again at the appropriate time.”
Trump’s running mate Mike Pence spoke about the visit to CNN:
“He gets an invitation late last week from the President of Mexico, and essentially drops what he’s doing to sit down. It would have been very easy to say, let’s get together, let’s talk for days and days and figure out how to make this happen. Donald Trump is someone that says, we got an invitation, we’ve got an opportunity, let’s drop what we’re doing — he’s going to begin a relationship that I truly do believe is in the interest of the United States of America.”
It remains to be seen if Trump’s visit will help his standing with Hispanic voters, especially in critical swing states like Nevada, Florida, and Colorado.