Posted: 11:53 pm Tuesday, August 30th, 2016
By Jamie Dupree
In a surprise development, Donald Trump announced on Tuesday night that he would be visiting Mexico on Wednesday to meet with that country’s President, just hours before Trump is set to give a much anticipated speech in Arizona to set out his plans to deal illegal immigration into the U.S.
I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him tomorrow.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2016
— Presidencia México (@PresidenciaMX) August 31, 2016
The news of Trump’s surprise visit to Mexico broke just as he took the stage in Everett, Washington for a campaign rally – but unlike most every appearance he has made in this election, Trump said almost nothing about immigration last night, never mentioning the wall that he so often says the Mexican government should pay for.
This was what Trump said on that over the weekend in Iowa:
Trump has repeatedly said that he will get Mexico to pay for that border wall – we’ll have to see what comes out of his visit on that subject, how he interacts with the Mexican leader, and how it plays with the Mexican people as well – like this note from a reporter in Mexico:
The response in Mexico is furious. Did #EPN team expect anything else?
— Elisabeth Malkin (@ElisabethMalkin) August 31, 2016
While Trump’s tough talk on immigration is a crowd-pleaser at his events, it still is not with most Americans according to the polls.
For example, a July CBS/New York Times poll asked about building a wall along the border with Mexico – while Republicans favored it, Democrats and Independents did not:
And even during the 2016 primaries, Republicans were split on what to do.
Exits during primaries showed this too – majority in GOP primary in FL, SC, etc preferred path to legal status https://t.co/JJJWSM0TMH
— Kristen S Anderson (@KSoltisAnderson) August 30, 2016
In addition, half supported deportation in only 2 of 20 states that asked in exit polls during primaries https://t.co/lGwzgPLVIq
— Ronald Brownstein (@RonBrownstein) August 30, 2016
But for the most vocal parts of the Republican Party, backing off on illegal immigration is unacceptable – just witness the attacks against Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio from the last year, as they were defined by many as completely unacceptable when compared to Trump.
As for Clinton, she was using social media to remind her supporters what she would do – starting with “a pathway to full and equal citizenship” for those now here illegally:
"From the first days of his campaign, Donald Trump has painted Mexicans as 'rapists' and criminals." pic.twitter.com/kwu8TJynrM
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 31, 2016
So – there are two things to watch today – Trump’s visit to Mexico and how that plays, and then Trump’s speech on immigration.
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.