Guess who’s coming to dinner? (Well … lunch, anyway.) Donald Trump. He’s headed to Mexico today, which he has relentlessly derided throughout his campaign, for a meeting. Lest you think this is some sort of wall fundraising trip, you should know he was invited on Friday, along with Hillary Clinton, by Mexican President Peña Nieto.
It was reported over the weekend that Trump was considering the invitation, but he only confirmed the trip late last night. On Twitter, of course.
The meeting was also confirmed by President Nieto, who tweeted “I invited candidates for President of the United States to Mexico to discuss the bilateral relationship.” He followed that up in a separate tweet, saying “I believe in dialogue to promote the interests of Mexico in the world and mainly to protect Mexicans wherever they are.”
The meeting will take place ahead of his big, damage-control immigration speech tomorrow where he’s expected to try to keep his flock happy after his recent flip-flop to amnesty. Considering that that flip was precipitated by a meeting with Latino groups, you have to wonder if and how he’ll modify his big speech after meeting with Nieto.
What does Trump hope to get out of the meeting? Last year, Trump said Mexico is “laughing at us, at our stupidity,” and “they are not our friend, believe me.” He trashed former Mexican President Vicente Fox from the primary debate stage. He even smack-talks the country, saying “the wall just got ten feet higher” when they displease him or say they won’t pay for it. You know, like how an adult tells a kid their grounding just got extended by a week. So he’s probably not expecting to be awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle.
Probably he just wants a PR win and attention for his speech. If he can contain himself (an iffy proposition) and wait to express his view on how the meeting went until he is delivering his speech tomorrow afternoon, all the bigger the press circus. And he will no doubt say something like “if I’m such a racist, if Mexico hates me so much, why did their President meet with me?” Not to mention the outside hope it helps him with Latino voters.
One can only assume that PR is all that Nieto will get out of the meeting as well. He has a dialog with a contender for the White House, and he can claim that Trump had to come to him because Mexico is important to our interests. You know, a press release win. At best.
At worst … well Trump’s worst is impossible to predict, isn’t it? It’s always so much worse than you think it will be. Maybe he ruins U.S.-Mexico relations for a generation. Maybe he builds a wall really super fast while everyone is distracted and then steals the money from Nieto’s wallet. Maybe he catches a few Pokemon. Maybe nothing. Who knows?
Whatever the case, we won’t have to wait long. The exact details of the meeting aren’t out yet, but it will be in Mexico during the day and he’s supposed to be back in time for his speech tonight. So in a few hours we’ll know what his worst or best is.
Despite himself, this day could be a turning point in the 2016 race.