IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Donald Trump's Strange, Surprise, Last-Minute Jaunt to Mexico

Trump’s entering into a nation of people for his first international meeting and entering a country of people whom he’s said few nice things about.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and Mexican President Enrique Pena NietoReuters; AFP

Just 218 words into his presidential announcement speech last year, Donald Trump declared that Mexico “is not our friend, believe me.”

Now the Republican presidential nominee, Trump is making a surprise, hurried trip to a nation he has singled out throughout the campaign as a threat to the United States.

In that same announcement speech, Trump declared that Mexico is “sending” people who are “rapists" and criminals and has steadfastly insisted he will build a wall between the two nations to keep America safe.

Today Trump is traveling to Mexico on his first diplomatic trip as a nominee to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Wednesday was supposed to be the day that Donald Trump clarified his confusing position on immigration and what to do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.

While he still plans to give that speech in Phoenix Wednesday night, he has created a side-show with the last-minute jaunt that has left the press, who was not informed in advance or included in his plans, and the U.S. Embassy scrambling.

While Peña Nieto said he welcomed Trump, saying he "believes in dialogue," Trump's visit to Mexico is not appreciated by some. Former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, who has long been critical of Trump, said Trump visit is an insult to the Mexican people.

Fox, who led Mexico from 2000 - 2006, said Trump should only visit Mexico to ask for forgiveness and to “show some respect.”

His challenger, Hillary Clinton, responded harshly, saying, "You don't build a coalition by insulting our friends or acting like a loose cannon," Clinton said.

Trump is accepting an invitation for the visit from president Peña Nieto, but the last minute nature of the trip is unprecedented. The trip was confirmed around 10:00 p.m. EST Tuesday night, about 18 hours before he is expected to land in Mexico City.

Trump has ignored the labor and time that usually goes into planning such a major event.

Immigration by the Numbers

Aug. 31, 201600:57

He defied the advice of the U.S. government as adequate arrangements take weeks of planning.

Trump is also bringing no members of his traveling press corps - a major reversal of tradition for presidential candidates holding international meetings. Just hours before the meeting, the press is still scrambling to find out information about the time of the event and how to cover it as reporters are scrambling to make their way to Mexico City. The campaign directed the press charter to Phoenix, Arizona ahead of his immigration speech despite repeated requests by news outlets to accompany the candidate on his first official foreign trip.

Mexican President Peña Nieto, highly unpopular himself, has also been critical of Trump. He previously criticized his “isolationism” saying it “cannot bring prosperity to a society.”

The big question is if Trump will ask Peña Nieto to pay for the "big, beautiful wall" along the border - a constant line in his campaign stump speech.

Based on Peña Nieto's previous comments, the answer is likely no.

If Mexico doesn't pay for it, Trump will have to talk to the American people about using taxpayers' dollars effort that is likely to cost tens of billions of dollars.