The Mere mention of a Wall. . .
Donald Trump hasn’t even clinched the presidential nomination yet, but he’s already shaping U.S. and even Mexican foreign policy. And we think all others should be listening and taking notes.
Fueled by the Republican front-runner’s comments about migration and the southern neighbor, the governments of the United States and especially Mexico have, in recent months, stepped up their efforts to improve their relationship.
President Obama has more than once dismissed the candidate’s calls for a border wall, sometimes mockingly and other times visibly concerned.
During a visit to Mexico for economic talks earlier this year, Vice President Joe Biden described Trump’s rhetoric “dangerous, damaging and incredibly ill-advised.”
“I almost feel obliged to apologize for some of what my political colleagues said,” Biden said alongside Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. “It’s a heated campaign season and I just want you to know, Mr. President, that the most heated rhetoric you’ve heard from competitors for the nomination for president is not who we are as the American people.” Please Mr. Biden speak only for yourself.
Meanwhile, high-profile visits of Mexican officials to Washington D.C. have been more frequent in recent months, in what appears to be a charm offensive.
“Trump has brought the U.S. and the Mexican government together,” Genaro Lozano, a Reforma newspaper contributor, told Fox News Latino. In his view, the heated presidential race may have pushed Mexico into re-thinking the way it deals with its northern neighbor.
“Under the current administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, there wasn’t a real policy toward the United States. The relationship was stuck and the attitude was mostly one of reaction,” he said. “But I think nominating a new ambassador and sub-secretary for North American affairs is a strategic move.”
Trump launched his bid for the presidency last year with a controversial speech, in which he said some of the Mexican immigrants were “rapists” and “murderers.” Some of the illegal immigrants from Mexico are in fact just that. He presented what is arguably still his most polemic proposal: to build a massive wall along the U.S.-Mexican border that Mexico would pay for.
The real estate mogul has appeared to tone down his rhetoric at times, as his scuffle for the GOP nomination has pushed him to present a more presidential persona and discourse.
The border wall proposal still stands, however. Earlier this month, Trump said he would cut off the flow of billions of dollars in remittances Mexican immigrants send to their families if Mexico refuses to pay for the wall’s construction, a move that could potentially ruin the Mexican economy.
But Mexicans have been fierce in their rejection of the border wall. Two former presidents, Felipe Calderón and Vicente Fox, have both said publicly they would not pay a cent for its construction, with Fox even using an expletive on live television to emphasize his anger.
U.S. officials also joined the fray. Early this month, Obama mocked Trump’s border wall, wishing the billionaire “good luck with that” and calling some of his proposals “whacky.”
Mexican government officials initially kept mostly silent over Trump’s comments and proposals, but come early this year began to react, often in angry rebuttal.
Last month, Peña Nieto said Trump’s comments “damage the relationship” between both countries, while Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray adamantly echoed the ex-presidents’ opinion that Mexico would not pay for a border wall under any circumstance. The harshest words were uttered by Foreign Secretary Ruiz Massieu, however, who has called Trump’s policy proposals “racist” and “ignorant” and his border wall proposal “absurd.”
Well say what you will; however, their is nothing racist, ignorant or absurd about planning in advance. One way or another Mr. Trump has shown and demonstrated how this wall will be paid for — we would say to Mexico — to either review your strategy or let Mr. Trump do it.