In what is the first ever campaign visit to Mexico for a non-incumbant U.S. presidential candidate of a major party, Donald Trump is traveling south of the wall-less border on Wednesday to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. The historic meeting follows a public feud between the two political figures and is clearly an attempt by Trump to appeal to Latino voters, a majority of whom plan to vote for his Democratic nemesis.
"I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him tomorrow," Trump tweeted Tuesday night in a surprise announcement.
The Mexican President's office has confirmed that the meeting will take place. "In the past days, the President @EPN invited both U.S. presidential candidates to a dialogue on the bilateral relations between Mexico and the United States. Mr. @realDonaldTrump has accepted the invitation and will meet tomorrow in private with the President @EPN," the office announced Tuesday.
Lifezette reports that Trump is expected to bring along three high profile political figures: former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL). The discussion will include "a broad variety of topics ranging from trade to security to immigration and the contentious issue of border enforcement."
It's a bold move by Trump, who is attempting to rebrand himself as presidential after a markedly unpresidential campaign and to show that he can mend fences with those with whom he's quarreled. But Trump also risks stirring up more concerns among his conservative supporters about his shifting immigration policy. The meeting also comes despite pushback from security personnel in both countries.
The ugly war of words between Nieto and Trump included the Mexican President comparing Trump to Hitler and Mussolini and Trump accusing the Mexican government, who he said is "not our friend," of sending some of its worst citizens to us and "killing us at the border" and "killing us on jobs and trade."
A clearly befuddled and worried CNN describes Trump's decision to meet with Nieto "extraordinary."
"A meeting between Trump and Peña Nieto would be extraordinary, given Trump's continued pledges to build a wall on the border with Mexico and make Mexico pay for it," the leftist outlet reports. "Trump has also stoked fierce criticism in Mexico and in the Hispanic community at large for his at-times inflammatory rhetoric in discussing illegal immigration."
Despite the announcement, Trump is assuring his supporters that he's going to stay strong on the border, repeating his pledge to "secure our border and stop the drugs from pouring in and destroying our country" at a rally Tuesday night.
As for Trump's standing with Hispanics: unsurprisingly, he's losing to his Democrat opponent, but by a much smaller margin than Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote in 2012.
"The analysis of found Hispanics who were born in the United States, those who constitute most of the Hispanic demographic's total voters, only find view Clinton more favorably than Trump by a 14-point margin," notes Lifezette. "To put that in context, 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney lost the Hispanic vote by a whopping 44 percent."
According to Gallup, Trump's favorability among all US.-born Hispanics (the largest bloc by far) is currently 29%, while Clinton's is only 43%. Among foreign-born Hispanics Trump's favorability is a miserable 13%; Clinton's is 87%.