Donald Trump’s surprise jaunt to Mexico City to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto has unleashed a wave of outrage from Mexican citizens — who plan to take to the streets in a massive protest — former leaders, and high ranking lawmakers.
On Wednesday morning, just hours before Trump’s private jet touched down in the southern capitol, the president of the Mexican Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee demanded the meeting be canceled.
“We feel a profound indignation that our president has invited a candidate who has insulted Mexico and Mexicans again and again,” said Senator Gabriela Cuevas Barron of the National Action Party in a press conference in Mexico City. “Today, what is at risk is the dignity of Mexico. Our president is playing games with both our dignity and our sovereignty.”
Calling Trump a “tyrant,” a “misogynist” and “openly anti-Mexican,” Cuevas Barron reminded the gathered reporters that just a few months ago, President Peña Nieto compared Trump’s rhetoric to that of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. She also cited reports that Trump has inspired violence against Latinos in the United States.
“Trump is not welcome in Mexico.”
“Now he is inviting him over to drink coffee in our country, in our home? This is completely inadmissible,” she said in Spanish. “Our government has repeatedly said it would not intervene in the internal politics of the United States, but is now intervening in the worst way possible, intervening on behalf of a candidate who hates Mexicans.”
“Trump is not welcome in Mexico,” Cuevas Barron concluded, adding that if the GOP nominee wants to visit the country, he should first apologize for labeling Mexican immigrants criminals, drug traffickers, and rapists. “I don’t see any scenario in which Mexico has anything to gain from hosting Donald Trump, especially when he has already rejected by other world leaders, like the President of France and the prime minister of the United Kingdom.”
Cuevas Barron’s colleagues shared similar concerns. Roberto Gil Zuarth, the president of the Senate, said that Mexico should not “open the national palace” to Trump’s “demagoguery and hate.”
Invitar a @realDonaldTrump legítima su propuesta de demagogia y odio. Nos amenaza con guerra y muros, pero le abrimos palacio nacional.
— Roberto Gil Zuarth (@rgilzuarth) August 31, 2016
Other Mexican officials, including the country’s former ambassador to the United States, expressed fears that the visit “legitimizes Trump & his xenophobia” and will help him appear presidential.
Former Mexican intelligence official Alejandro Hope agreed. “For Trump, this makes perfect sense. He polishes his image,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “What is Peña going to get out of this? Half price on the wall?”
Immediately following his Mexico visit, Trump will fly to Phoenix, Arizona to deliver a speech on his immigration policy — which over the past few weeks has swung wildly between calls for border walls and mass deportation, an embrace of President Obama’s enforcement model, and the policies he mocked during the primary. While Trump and his surrogates have pushed the narrative that he is “softening” his hard-line stances on mass deportations and border walls and desires a more “humane” approach, he has not yet offered a clear alternative.
President Peña Nieto has also invited Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, but she has yet to publicly accept his invitation.