Donald Trump has spent years trashing Mexico as a corrupt enemy of the United States, whose government has looked the other way as drug dealers and criminals stream across the border. On Wednesday, he’ll step off a plane in Mexico City and confront a government and people that have followed his every utterance — and rejected them.
Trump’s meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is one of the greatest gambles of the election for Trump. It comes as he trails in most polls and prepares to deliver a speech expected to repackage — and perhaps walk back — his controversial immigration policies after a year of calling for mass deportations and a 2,000-mile border wall with Mexico. He’ll return from the trip in the evening and deliver his immigration address in Phoenix.
“If he can go down there and look statesmanlike while at the same time being firm for what he stands for, then I think it helps shape people’s perceptions of him as to what he would be like if he’s actually president,” said Steve Munisteri, a Republican consultant and former chairman of the Texas GOP. “This is chance for him to demonstrate to the American people what it would be like to have Trump as president, what it would be like if he was dealing with foreign leaders.”
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