Bad Optics As Trump, Peña Nieto Meet in Mexico

Donald Trump’s visit to Mexico Blows Up In His face

Bad optics after Donald Trump and Mexican president Peña Nieto meet.

The American billionaire, Donald Trump, is visiting Mexico today for a private meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto; his first official meeting with a Head of State as the Republican Presidential Nominee. The planned trip has many Mexicans angered, but also has thousands in both countries having a blast on social media.

Perhaps the best comment (so far) came from Mexico’s former First Lady who tweeted “Mr. Donald Trump, even though you were invited, know you are not welcome. We Mexicans have dignity and reject your hate speech.”

Mexicans are certainly known for being welcoming people and good hosts, but let’s not forget that Mr. Trump has repeatedly scorned America’s southern neighbor, insulted Mexicans and immigrants by calling them rapists and criminals and has threatened them with building a wall on the border.

Mexicans are still wondering why Trump would then be invited to Mexico, but the Republican is actually said to be looking forward to his visit. According to The New York Times, the office of president Peña Nieto announced on Tuesday night that the meeting will take place at the presidential palace in Mexico City, and that the invitation was also extended to Hillary Clinton (her office replied she would meet with Peña Nieto at another time).

The visit is scheduled before what Trump’s campaign has called a major immigration speech that will take place later in Phoenix, Arizona. But as Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s communications director, rightly said in a statement:

“From the first days of his campaign, Donald Trump has painted Mexicans as ‘rapists’ and criminals and has promised to deport 16 million people, including children and U.S. citizens. What ultimately matters is what Donald Trump says to voters in Arizona, not Mexico, and whether he remains committed to the splitting up of families and deportation of millions.”

Until now, politicians in Mexico (except for former president Vicente Fox) have remained silent to Trump’s outbursts and comments, including president Peña Nieto. However, today’s visit is blowing up in social networks. Roberto Gil Zuarth, president of Mexico’s senate angrily tweeted that “inviting Donald Trump legitimizes his proposal of demagogy and hatred. He threatens us with war and walls, but we open him the national palace.”

And the surprise and anger has upset also people inside the U.S.

While other have seen it with more humour.

Brenda Velázquez, one of Mexico’s deputies tweeted “Donald Trump you are not welcome in Mexico. Better take Peña Nieto with you and do not come back.”

Peña Nieto might be trying to look for communication channels with both nominees, but he made a huge mistake in the eyes of the Mexican nation. Andrew Selee, executive vice president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Mexico expert, explained:

“I think the Mexican government wants channels with whoever is going to be president of the U.S. next, and Trump is a legitimate candidate. And from a political perspective, Peña Nieto getting Trump to come to Mexico shows that Trump has been forced to shift some of his rhetoric and take Mexico seriously.”

Whatever Peña Nieto’s strategy behind this invite is, at least one thing is for sure—Donald Trump has managed to unite all Mexicans against a common enemy: himself.

Featured image via CNN/Twitter

From Mexico City, Carolina has lived in five different countries, experiences she defines as the most enriching. She has focused her studies and work on international conflicts and international security issues, diplomacy and protocol. Carolina holds two MA degrees and hopes to begin her PhD studies soon.