Having ditched his traveling press corps, Trump’s lie that he and President Enrique Peña Nieto didn’t discuss who would pay for his border wall wasn’t exposed until the Mexican president tweeted that they had a few hours later
.. Trump and his campaign had used Peña Nieto as a prop in an opening act that served only to set up an evening stemwinder. The farce was, in hindsight, clear even before Trump approached the mic, as two of his warm-up speakers, Rudy Giuliani and Jeff Sessions, donned Trump hats that read “Make Mexico Great Again Also.”
.. He reverted to the tough talk he was unable to muster on foreign soil just hours earlier about Mexico paying for the wall.
.. Toward the end of his speech, he used the personal anecdotes of mothers whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants to further demonize “illegals.”
.. Trump’s revived bombast and the 10-pronged list of immigration policy ideas were actually a clumsy effort to obscure the fact that he is no longer vowing to immediately deport every undocumented immigrant in the country illegally
Donald Trump could barely have scripted it better. After a year of tormenting Mexico as a hostile foe, he stepped to a podium on Mexican soil — alongside the country’s leader Enrique Peña Nieto — and got a president’s welcome.
Trump emerged from an hourlong huddle with Peña Nieto and the pair delivered side-by-side statements, embedding subtle criticisms of each other inside enthusiastic declarations of mutual respect. But it was the precise visual Trump had hoped for: a bilateral news conference that amounted to a preview of what similar international trips might look like in a Trump presidency.
.. Peña Nieto even contended that Trump’s hot-blooded rhetoric about Mexicans has been, in some cases, “misinterpretations.”
.. He delivered a methodical dismantling of Trump’s anti-NAFTA arguments, noting that trade with Mexico supports as many as 6 million American jobs. He also reminded Trump that for all the undocumented immigrants and drugs flowing north, illegal cash and weapons are flowing south.
.. “Every year millions of weapons and millions of dollars cross illegally into Mexico from the North that strengthen cartels and other criminal organizations that generate violence in Mexico and receives earnings from drug sales in the United States. This flow has to be stopped.”
.. Later, Peña Nieto lamented that there’s been “misinterpretations and statements that have unfortunately hurt and affected Mexicans in the way he’s presented his candidacy,” but he added that “I was sure that his genuine interest was to build a relationship.”
.. Trump, who delivered his statement second
.. Vicente Fox said the visit simply legitimized Trump’s earlier harsh rhetoric. After the speech, Felipe Calderon called Trump a “hypocrite” for changing his tone.
“I don’t believe him. He is lying. He doesn’t mean what he says,” Calderon said on CNN. “He says we’re rapists and tomorrow he says we’re wonderful, smart, hardworking people. He is lying. And for that reason, I think, I was very, very sorry, I’m very sorry he came to Mexico. I think it was a very important mistake.”