Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto met yesterday, and all we got were bland platitudes. Neither was willing to challenge the other. At the end everyone wondered why either had bothered.
As soon as they were alone again, they got tough. For the two of them, that's leadership.
"His policy stances could represent a huge threat to Mexico, and I am not prepared to keep my arms crossed and do nothing," Pena Nieto said. "That risk, that threat, must be confronted. I told him that is not the way to build a mutually beneficial relationship for both nations."
From Donald Trump's half-screamed speech in Arizona:
On day one, we will begin working on an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border. We will use the best technology, including above-and below-ground sensors, towers, aerial surveillance and manpower to supplement the wall, find and dislocate tunnels, and keep out the criminal cartels, and Mexico will pay for the wall.
Further, after their meeting Trump said the question of who would pay for his wall did not come up. According to EPN, it did come up, and he told Trump Mexico wouldn't pay for it.
This is an embarrassment for both countries, as we watch two blustering, lying, cowardly bullies deal with each other.
And they both lost. Trump needs undecided voters, and all he did was fire up his base while giving a speech in a state that's already strongly Republican. The fact that he managed to stand with another president without saying something stupid won't affect those undecided voters. Meanwhile, Peña Nieto had the opportunity to stand up for his country--why else invite the U.S. presidential candidates?--and instead he burnished his image as an empty suit. Look for his already abysmal approval ratings to drop further.