Updated on August 30, 2016 at 10:57 p.m.
NEWS BRIEF Donald Trump will visit Mexico to meet with the country’s president Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday.
The reports come days after Peña Nieto opened up the possibility of meeting with Trump by extending an invitation to both party nominees.The Washington Post’s Robert Costa reports that Trump’s campaign chief executive Stephen Bannon urged Trump to visit Mexico two days later, and discussions about the trip have been underway since Monday. Here’s more from the Post, which first reported the possible visit:
Trump, sensing an opportunity, decided over the weekend to accept the invitation and push for a visit this week, according to the people familiar with the discussions …
The people informed of Trump’s plans spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity surrounding the matter. They said late Tuesday that talks between the Trump campaign and Mexican officials were ongoing, with Trump interested in going but logistics and security concerns still being sorted out.
The Trump campaign declined to comment.
Trump’s relationship with Mexico has been rocky. The Republican candidate made immigration a cornerstone of his campaign last year and has held a hardline stance on the issue for much of the presidential primary. He proposed building a “great” wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and criminals. Peña Nieto fired back, saying that Mexico would not pay for a wall on the southern border, as Trump suggested. Earlier this year, he also likened Trump to Hitler and Mussolini. Still, with Mexico being the United States’s neighbor, it was perhaps only a matter of time for a serious exchange with the country’s leader and the U.S. presidential candidates.
For Trump, however, the timing of the visit is notable. On Wednesday, Trump is expected to visit Arizona to deliver a speech on immigration. Trump has been altering his stance on immigration in recent days, indicating that he’ll soften his position and subsequently creating confusion about where he stands on the issue.
The meeting could be mutually beneficial. Peña Nieto is facing his own challenges in Mexico, and in meeting with Trump, he has the opportunity to flex his muscles against the Republican candidate, who has repeatedly insulted Mexicans. But Trump, too, stands to benefit. By going in advance of his immigration speech, he could tout his ability to negotiate and also showcase that he’s prepared to be the commander-in-chief.
On Tuesday night, Trump confirmed a meeting with Peña Nieto on Twitter:
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
Shortly after, the office of Mexico’s president said on Twitter that Trump had accepted the invitation and he would be meeting with Peña Nieto in private on Wednesday: