What Peña Nieto Told Donald Trump in a Televised Address to Mexico: But Does It Really Matter?

Jan 26, 2017
8:44 AM

UPDATE, January 26, 2017, 12pmET: Peña Nieto has cancelled his trip to the White House.

On Wednesday night, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto addressed his nation in a televised address. He was responding to President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration. In the video, Peña Nieto said that Mexico would be there for the Mexican immigrant community in the U.S. and that no, Mexico will not build a wall.

Interestingly enough, Peña Nieto’s “tough talk” did not result in a definitive and public decision to cancel an upcoming Washington trip to meet with Trump, even though Peña Nieto is threatening to do it. The pressure for a cancellation is already mounting, but when we read a recent Atlantic article by John M. Ackerman, we ask ourselves: Is EPN at fault for allowing Trump to thrive? As Ackermann writes:

Peña Nieto will speak publicly about protecting his people, but his real agenda is to negotiate impunity for his government as his administration winds to an end. In exchange for Trump ignoring the vast corruption scandals and systematic human rights violations south of the border, Peña Nieto will sell his country down the river by legitimizing Trump’s attacks on Mexico and Mexicans with his visit.

Then, Ackerman reminds us what happened after Trump met with Peña Nieto last August:

Energized by his campaign stop in Mexico City, Trump then travelled that afternoon to Arizona to deliver one of his key anti-immigration speeches. There, Trump simultaneously called Peña Nieto a “wonderful president” and publicly ratified his promise to build an “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall.” Thanks to Peña Nieto, all of a sudden Trump miraculously had become, without modifying his policies an inch, both a statesman and a friend of Mexico and Mexicans. His polls rose thereafter.

So which Peña Nieto will show up now? And were Wednesday’s words just words?

By the way, Trump doesn’t care: