Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr Creative Commons

Ahead Of Their Meeting In Mexico, Both Donald Trump And Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto Have Ulterior Motives

August 31, 2016

Over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump has come under fire for calling Mexicans "murderers" and "rapists."

Today, he'll have to call them something else: his hosts.

That's because this afternoon—ahead of a major policy speech on immigration—the Republican presidential candidate will meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

He's almost certain to receive a frosty reception: Peña Nieto has previously compared Trump's language to that of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, and former Mexican President Vicente Fox has sharply criticized Trump's proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and force Mexico to pay the bill.

But both parties—Mexico and Trump—will come to the meeting with agendas, says homeland security expert and "Security Mom" author Juliette Kayyem.

For Peña Nieto, that agenda is to distract attention away from his own scandals at home. The Mexican president is currently embroiled in controversy over whether or not he plagiarised his law thesis, with the newspaper Aristegui Noticias reporting that 29% of the text was lifted from other works.  

"He's wildly unpopular, so this might just be a distraction move," Kayyem said. "He is going to invite Trump, he's going to do something to criticize Trump, and then get the support of his people."

"Trump might be used as a prop for all we know, by Nieto," she continued.

Trump, too, has ulterior motives. Kayyem noted that his visit will almost certainly be cited later tonight during the presidential candidate's speech on immigration policy.

"This just gives him a talking point to say: I was just in Mexico City—even if it's just for 25 minutes—and I'm more convinced than ever before that the wall will work," she said.

"This is all for show," Kayyem said.

To hear more from Juliette Kayyem, tune in to Boston Public Radio above.


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