Donald Trump made headlines again—surprise, surprise—two weeks ago for his high-profile visit to Mexico. The visit came as a result of Mexican prime minister Pena Nieto’s invitation to both Trump and Hillary Clinton on diplomatic grounds.
Trump took the trip as an opportunity to further his so-called polls with minority groups, specifically Hispanics and Latinos. He publicized it widely and for a second, even I thought that some good could come from the visit. Maybe Trump was about to move toward the center.
But, alas, one can never truly put their faith in someone as tied to his beliefs as Trump. As soon as he returned, he tweeted, “Mexico will pay for the wall!”
Nieto responded with a tweet that said he agreed to no such thing. Seriously, why would Clinton pass up an opportunity to witness this all first-hand?
Clinton, in response to Nieto’s invitation, said that she wants to, “focus on what we’re doing to create jobs here at home, what we’re doing to make sure Americans have the best possible opportunities in the future.”
And in many experts’ opinion, Clinton made the right decision. From Mexican political scientists to prominent media figures, all agreed that the person at fault for the whole fiasco was indeed Pena Nieto.
Clinton’s decision allowed many Americans, including myself, to look into this Nieto character a little more. Why wasn’t he worth meeting?
Nieto is actually very unpopular in Mexico and his poll numbers plummeted even more after Trump’s visit. Why? Because he let Trump make a fool out of him, a man supposed to be representing Mexico and its people in the greatest possible way.
Clinton’s choice not to take up Nieto’s offer was strategic. It showed that she cared little of what Trump chose to do and how he chose to spend his campaign time.
It also reflected Clinton’s understanding of the Mexican-American relationship. As put by Tony Payan, the director of the Mexico Center at Rice University, Clinton understands that Mexico and America have a complex and unique tie that will outlive the presidencies of both Clinton and Nieto.
As untrustworthy as she may appear, Clinton seems to be pulling the smarter moves in this race.
Her decision to not visit Mexico has little bearing on her campaign, and will mean even less when/if she wins office this November.