Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump will visit Mexico on Wednesday to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto. Given his constant criticism of Mexico and promise to build a wall separating the country from the U.S., Mr. Trump’s trip came as a surprise to pundits.
Mr. Trump is slated to land in Mexico City at around 3 p.m. local time for his meeting with Mr. Nieto. He will leave the Mexican capital at 5:30 p.m. and head to Phoenix, Arizona to deliver a speech on his proposed immigration policy.
According to Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, Mr. Nieto and Mr. Trump will discuss border security and immigration. Larry Rubin, the president of an organization of Republican Party members living in Mexico, said the discussion would also focus on the shared economic interests of the two countries. He added that he believed Mr. Trump would only briefly mention his controversial proposal to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border for which Mexico will pay.
Mr. Trump’s visit, his first with a foreign head of state as a presidential candidate, has drawn fierce criticism in Mexico for his repeated vilification of the country. His comment that Mexico was “sending” rapists and drug dealers to the U.S. was especially controversial.
Sources from the Trump campaign have hinted that Mr. Trump will soften his rhetoric during the trip. When asked about the visit, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said he would be “very presidential.” One source told Reuters that he might apologize for some of his past comments while maintaining his hard stance against illegal immigration.
In recent weeks, Mr. Trump has indicated that he might reconsider aspects of his strict immigration policy, saying that there are some “great people” among the Mexican populace in the U.S. Such statements mark a departure from his usual anti-Mexican comments, worrying some of his hyper-conservative supporters such as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
With roughly two months to go until the November election, Mr. Trump is trailing his rival, Hillary Clinton, in most major polls.