Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Did Mexico Invite Donald Trump for a Visit?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Did Mexico Invite Donald Trump for a Visit?

Article excerpt

Mexico, meet Donald Trump.

The Republican presidential candidate is taking up Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto on an offer extended to both US presidential candidates by making a quick visit to Mexico on Wednesday, just hours before he is expected to a deliver major immigration speech in Arizona.

"I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him...," said Mr. Trump in a Twitter post on Tuesday night.

Trump's ascent to the nomination owes much to his antagonism of the United States' southern neighbor: launching his campaign with remarks that belittled immigrants from Mexico, and claiming that they have contributed to international humiliation for the US.

"They're not sending us their best," he said in his June 2015 speech announcing that he was seeking the Republican presidential bid. "They're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we're getting."

"When do we beat Mexico at the border?" he continued. "They're laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they're beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me, but they're killing us economically."

In March, Mr. Pena Nieto criticized Trump's "strident" tone, likening his brand of populism to that of fascist leaders like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. He later told CNN that there was "no way" that Mexico would ever pay for the construction of a border wall, as Trump has insisted it should.

On Tuesday, Pena Nieto seemed to preempt criticisms over the invitation, writing on Twitter that he believed in dialogue "to promote the interests of Mexico in the world and, principally, to protect Mexicans wherever they are." The purpose of the visit, he wrote, was to discuss bilateral relations - a preferred topic for a president who has made attracting foreign investment a priority.

His comments in March aside, the Mexican president has been characteristically circumspect in his remarks about the US elections, describing them as a matter to be decided internally. …

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