Trump the Statesman Gets It Done in Mexico
High-risk meeting with President Peña Nieto a win for GOP nominee
Hillary Clinton has accused Donald Trump of lacking the temperament to conduct foreign policy — but Trump blew that narrative to pieces at a game-changing joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto Wednesday.
Trump proved capable of having a respectful, productive meeting and substantive, statesmanlike press conference with a foreign leader who once implied he was like a fascist dictator. Meanwhile Clinton — who continues to imply that Trump is something akin to a fascist dictator — is on day 270 without any press conference at all.
“What the American people are seeing today is the kind of decisive president Donald J. Trump will be.”
Any concerns about Trump’s diplomatic abilities were swept away Wednesday. “We are united by our support in democracy, a great love for our people, and the contributions of millions of Mexican-Americans to the United States,” said Trump. “I have such great respect for [the Mexican people] and their strong values of family, faith, and community.”
“The bond between our two countries is deep and sincere, and both our countries benefit from a close and honest relationship between our two governments,” he said. “Both of our countries will work together for mutual good, and most importantly for the mutual good of our people.”
These are hardly the words of the barbaric caricature depicted by the Clinton campaign. And indeed, neither are they the words of the anti-Mexican bigot depicted by the Clinton campaign.
"What the American people are seeing today is the kind of decisive president Donald J. Trump will be. This meeting begins a relationship where we can talk about the issues we've got to resolve between the United States and Mexico, as well as the issues we have in common," vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said in an official statement.
Peña Nieto himself acknowledged that Trump's words have been twisted, and that the image of a racist Trump, peddled constantly by the mainstream media, is misleading.
"There has been a poor misunderstanding that has maybe hurt Mexicans, and I respect that," Peña Nieto said in translation. "Mexicans felt offended at what has been said, but I am quite certain his desire is to build a relationship that will improve our mutual well-being."
Peña Nieto found common ground with the GOP nominee on issues with the current unsecured border between the two countries and outdated trade policies — two of Trump's marquee issues in the 2016 contest.
"One has to take into account the flow of cash and illegal weapons into Mexico from the United States which benefits the cartels," Peña Nieto said. "This flow has to come to an end."
Peña Nieto also noted the reality of "non-Mexicans" — Central Americans, South Americans, and even those from the Middle East — who cross through Mexico on their way to the United States and pose a security threat to both countries "needs to be addressed."
"We need to have an overall focus on the border that deals with undocumented immigrants, the flow of drugs, weapons, and cash all at the same time," said Peña Nieto.
Trump said the two countries had a "shared objective of safety and prosperity" in stopping the "flow of drugs and illegal weapons."
Trump, in explicitly recognizing the real problems that impact Americans — and Mexicans — every day and pledging to address them properly, provided a stark contrast to his opponent. Indeed, the only candidate painting a false picture of the border is Clinton, a sterile picture of hard-working families crossing the border that conveniently ignores the drugs, the cartel violence, the coyotes — and their rapes, robberies, and murders along the way.
Clinton would have Americans believe that in railing against the dangerous consequences of an insecure U.S.-Mexico border, Trump is conjuring a dark, false mirage that implicitly rejects American excellence.
While Peña Nieto defended the benefits NAFTA has brought to Mexico, he nevertheless admitted the agreement could be "improved to the benefit of both parties" — a sentiment Trump echoed.
"NAFTA is a 22-year-old agreement that must be updated to reflect the realities of today," Trump said. Doing so will make both countries "stronger and keep industry in our hemisphere," he continued.
"We have tremendous competition from China and from all over the world. Keep it in our hemisphere," Trump said. Peña Nieto and Trump clearly recognize that continued globalization in its current form would be equally as bad for Mexico as it would the United States. Asian countries like China and Vietnam threaten the Mexican labor market as much as that of the United States.
While the mainstream media will be sure to grasp at ways to undermine the positive nature of the meeting with Peña Nieto, it will be hard to deny the substantive, serious, and mutually respectful press conference given by the two leaders was a massive political coup for Donald Trump.