GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump travelled to Mexico on Wednesday to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The surprise trip and initial details of the meeting were first confirmed by LifeZette.
Sources including Mexican officials involved in the planning of the visit, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stated the meeting would cover a broad variety of topics ranging from trade to security to immigration and the contentious issue of border enforcement.
A serious, substantive, and respectful meeting with Peña Nieto also offers Trump the chance reassure skeptical undecided voters of his presidential temperament.
Trump adviser and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, along with high-ranking Mexican officials, were expected to attend the meeting.
The meeting was ultimately agreed to despite concerns from both Mexican security services and the U.S. Secret Service.
Donald Trump usually likes to make an entrance fanfare. But not so on Wednesday when Team Trump flew to Mexico City for the historic summit between the two leaders.
According to individuals familiar with the planning, the question arose of how to get into the country under the radar.
Trump opted to leave behind his signature Boeing 757, emblazoned with the Trump logo, and instead flew into Mexico City on an unmarked plane.
A post-meeting press conference is not expected, although both men may read separate statements directly after the meeting.
The trip is particularly historic for Trump in that no previous non-incumbent presidential nominee of a major party has ever traveled to Mexico as part of his campaign.
The stakes for both Donald Trump and the Mexican president are high.
For Peña Nieto, the meeting represents a tremendous opportunity to offer Trump, the potential next president of the United States, an olive branch. Peña Nieto has made negative comments about Trump in the past, including a suggestion Trump was like a fascist dictator. The meeting will offer Peña Nieto the chance to clear the deck with the potential next leader of a nation on which his own is almost entirely economically reliant — and earn goodwill for himself and his country among Trump supporters.
For Trump, the historic meeting comes at a time when the GOP nominee is ramping up a high-stakes bid to win over support from traditionally Democratic minority voters in the United States.
“Republican presidential nominees usually aren’t bold enough to go into communities of color and take the case right to them, and compete for all ears and compete for all votes,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said in an Aug. 28 interview with ABC, “They’ve been afraid to do that. So, Mr. Trump deserves credit for at least taking the case directly to the people.”
Trump surrogate Dr. Ben Carson laid out the key objectives Trump is pursuing in his outreach to minority communities.
“He wants to find out from a lot of different sources what people perceive the problems to be and what they perceive the solutions to be,” Carson said in an interview with Michel Martin on NPR. “He also wants to hear about things that have effectively moved people out of the position of dependency and put them on a ladder to success.”
Tying the economic message geared toward minority voters into the campaign’s overall theme, Dr. Carson said, “You cannot be great if you have large pockets of people who are failing.”
A new report from Gallup indicates Trump’s effort may be finding success with U.S.-born Hispanic voters.
The analysis found Hispanics who were born in the United States, those who constitute most of the Hispanic demographic’s total voters, only view Clinton more favorably than Trump by a 14-point margin. To put that in context, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote by a whopping 44 percent.
[lz_table title=”Trump-Clinton Favorability with Hispanic Voters” source=”Gallup”]Voting Bloc,Clinton,Trump
All U.S. Hispanics,65%,21%
“Both parties have done nothing for the middle class, but more specifically under the Obama administration Latinos, African-Americans, and the middle class have done worse under Democratic policy,” said Jorge Herrera, one of the directors of #LatinosForTrump, in an Aug. 25 interview with LifeZette. “Hillary Clinton will be more of the same. Donald Trump is the only one speaking of the need to uplift Hispanics and all others economically.”
Trump certainly has credibility to speak on how to create jobs, including for minorities.
It’s hard to know for certain exactly how many Hispanics Donald Trump has employed throughout his business career, but an analysis from CNN Money found Trump is likely responsible for creating at least 34,000 jobs — Trump has suggested many of those positions have been held by Hispanics.
“I am friends with and employ thousands of people of Mexican and Hispanic descent,” Trump said in a June 7 statement.
Of course Trump, waylaid by constant negative media coverage and hyperbolic attacks of racism, still faces a steep climb to pull close to even with Clinton among Hispanic voters.
But the opportunity presented by meeting with Peña Nieto could be a game-changer.
Mexicans and Mexican-Americans alike could give Trump a second look after a strong show of respect for the nation of Mexico and a cleanly pulled-off meeting.
A serious, substantive, and respectful meeting with Peña Nieto, also offers Trump the chance reassure skeptical undecided voters of his presidential temperament.
Of course, first Trump will have to carefully navigate every moment both ahead of and after the meeting as the press corps will be rabidly looking for a chance to blow up the big moment.