Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has announced that he will make a short trip to Mexico to meet with its president, Enrique Peña Nieto, who announced the meeting on 31 August 2016:
Invité a México a los candidatos a la Presidencia de EEUU, para conversar sobre la relación bilateral. Mañana recibo a Donald Trump.
— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) August 31, 2016
(“I have invited the U.S. presidential candidates to Mexico in order to talk about bilateral relations. Tomorrow I receive Donald Trump.”)
The meeting in Mexico City was set to take place just before Trump traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, to speak about his stance on immigration to the United States.
Trump’s trip was met with criticism from Mexicans because of previous statements he has made about the country (the hashtag #TrumpGoHome quickly began trending on Twitter), both on and off social media:
When will the U.S. stop sending $’s to our enemies, i.e. Mexico and others. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2014
It’s not clear why the meeting is taking place, although Peña Nieto might be anxious to change the narrative after independent news outlet Aristegui Noticias published a particularly damaging story about him a few days before:
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto heavily plagiarized the thesis for his law degree, according to an investigation by a local news outlet. Aristegui Noticias on Sunday published an online report based on an analysis of the embattled president’s thesis by a group of academics, which it said was then corroborated by the news outlet. It said 29 percent of the thesis was material lifted from other works, including 20 paragraphs copied word-for-word from a book written by former President Miguel de la Madrid without citation or mention in the bibliography.
With this invitation, President Peña Nieto appears to be dialing back his own comments about Trump, who he compared to Adolf Hitler in March 2016:
Pena Nieto attacked the “populism” of the Trump campaign, which he said sought to put forward “very easy, simple solutions to problems that are obviously not that easy to solve.” “And there have been episodes in human history, unfortunately, where these expressions of this strident rhetoric have only led to very ominous situations in the history of humanity,” the Mexican president added. “That’s how Mussolini got in, that’s how Hitler got in, they took advantage of a situation, a problem perhaps, which humanity was going through at the time, after an economic crisis. “And I think what (they) put forward ended up at what we know today from history, in global conflagration. We don’t want that happening anywhere in the world,” Pena Nieto said.
Political cartoonists in Mexico mocked the meeting:
This is Trump’s first meeting with a foreign head of state as a presidential candidate.