After a year of tough talk on Mexico, Trump is finally becoming more presidential.

After a year of tough talk on Mexico, Trump is finally becoming more presidential.  

Last Wednesday, Trump went to Mexico to meet with President Peña Nieto and start developing a working relationship.  He also seems to be softening his position on immigration, just a little bit.  Many will criticize Trump as a “flip flopper” but it’s called “negotiation”.  By taking a tough stand with Mexico, he’s put them on the defensive.  Now, he can start softening his position without letting them walk all over us, and our borders.  

Susan Collins once said , “Donald Trump has the opportunity to unite the party, but if he’s going to build that wall that he keeps talking about, he’s going to have to mend a lot of fences.”

Rather than emoting over Trump and needlessly stirring  further animosity, Nieto is taking the high road and extending the olive branch.  Make no mistake, however.  Nieto is not giving in to Trump’s more ridiculous demands.  He’s made it very clear that Mexico will not be paying for that wall.  

Many hoped Trump would be humiliated in Mexico.


Some of my former LSE colleagues, closer to the political establishment than I, hoped that Trump would be humiliated in Mexico.  Others joked that he wouldn’t come back alive.  Having already heard Nieto speak about Trump, I knew Nieto to be a gentleman, and predicted that this meeting would go relatively smoothly.  (Screen cap of facebook conversation to the right).

What does CNN think of this?

I’m sure CNN was hoping for the worst.  Unable to find it, they instead put together a little series of clips contrasting Trump’s harsh comments about Mexicans in the past with his now more civil tone.  This is supposed to convince Trump supporters that he is untrustworthy.  

CNN is usually the most objective of the major networks, but I knew as soon as Clinton was in the race, they’d turn right back into the Clinton News Network, just like they were in the 1990s.  This little series of clips could be a campaign commercial, rather than “news”.  It’s actually very similar to an Obama commercial from 2012 “Mitt v. Mitt”.  I guess CNN is dropping any pretense of journalistic integrity in this presidential race.

Relations with Mexico under Trump

We have a genuine problem with Mexico.  As a sovereign nation, we have borders, and we have a right to protect those borders.  Our borders with Mexico are historically very porous, and Mexico historically seems fine with that.  Despite, this, Mexico is our neighbor, an ally, and often a friend.  They’re like the fun loving neighbor that borrows your stuff too often, and still hasn’t paid you back the $50 you loaned him, but he also threw an excellent Super Bowl party, helps you out when you’re having trouble with your car, and you wouldn’t want to lose him.  

Mexico is unlikely to pay for the wall, and I, for one, wouldn’t want it that way.  Mexico has enough problems without having to pay for our wall.  But I do want Mexico, with our help, to seriously crack down on the drug cartels.  

I’ve always supported trying to find some kind of balance between being more firm with Mexico on our borders, but finding a way to strengthen friendship and cooperation.

This recent speech in Mexico indicates that Trump might be moving in that direction also.  Good fences make good neighbors, and we can only hope that if Trump is elected, he’ll find a way to balance enforcement of immigration laws with being more open to peaceful, legal Mexican immigrants.

Richard Wagner is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Florida State College at Jacksonville. He conducts independent study on the American conservative movement and foreign policy. When he is...

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