Donald Trump Announces Surprise Meeting with Mexican President

Donald Trump announced Tuesday night that he will meet Wednesday with the President of Mexico just hours before he is set to deliver a speech focused on immigration policy.

“I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him tomorrow,” Trump tweeted as reports swirled that Trump was mulling a last-minute trip to Mexico.

A source familiar with the plans told CNN earlier Tuesday evening that Trump was weighing a trip to Mexico to meet with Peña Nieto on Wednesday.

The office of the Mexican President confirmed in a tweet late Tuesday night that Trump had accepted Peña Nieto’s invitation and that the two will meet privately on Wednesday.

A meeting between Trump and Peña Nieto would be extraordinary, given Trump’s continued pledges to build a wall on the border with Mexico and make Mexico pay for it. Trump has also stoked fierce criticism in Mexico and in the Hispanic community at large for his at-times inflammatory rhetoric in discussing illegal immigration.

The source familiar with the situation said the Trump campaign is considering the offer and will decide late Tuesday whether to travel to Mexico.

The Washington Post first reported the news earlier Tuesday evening.

The potential visit follows months of warring words between Trump and Mexico’s leaders, including when Peña Nieto compared Trump to brutal dictators Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

Trump in the early months of his campaign also leveled unfounded accusations that the Mexican government was intentionally sending its unwanted citizens across the border and into the United States

But both Trump and Nieto have publicly expressed a willingness in recent weeks to meet with one another.

“Mrs. Hillary Clinton and Mr. Donald Trump, I would like to express to both of them my greatest respect, my deepest respect. And from right now, I propose going into a frank, open dialogue with whomever is elected,” Nieto said in July during a joint news conference with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Criminals and ‘rapists’

But if Trump and Peña Nieto were to meet, they would have their differences to discuss.

Trump launched his presidential campaign last summer in controversy by characterizing undocumented Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists” and accused the Mexican government of “sending people that have lots of problems” into the US.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” he said.

The wall

And Peña Nieto has repeatedly asserted that his country will not pay for the border wall Trump plans to build on the border between their two countries.

And in a March interview, Peña Nieto compared Trump’s “strident rhetoric” to Hitler and Mussolini’s.

“That’s how Mussolini got in, that’s how Hitler got in. They took advantage of a situation, a problem perhaps,” the Mexican president said, according to Reuters.

Peña Nieto explained those comments during a news conference in June.

“Hitler, Mussolini, we all know the result,” he said, according to Reuters. “It was only a call for reflection and for recognition, so that we bear in mind what we have achieved and the great deal still to achieve.”

Peña Nieto added that the world is at times “presented with political actors and political leaders who assume populist and demagogic positions.”

While Trump has wavered in the last week on whether he will seek to deport all the undocumented immigrants living in the US back to their countries, he has stuck by his pledge to build a wall on the border with Mexico and make the country pay for it.

Trump has previously said he would pay for the wall by leveraging Mexico’s economic gains through its trade with the US. He has also threatened to withhold remittance payments immigrants in the US send to relatives in Mexico and increasing fees for Mexican visa applicants.