Donald J. Trump will visit Mexico on Wednesday for a private meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto — a
trip that will take him to a nation he has repeatedly scorned — before
quickly flying back for what is billed as a major immigration speech in
Mr. Peña Nieto’s office said Tuesday night that the
meeting would take place at the presidential palace in Mexico City, and
Mr. Trump, on Twitter, said he looked “very much forward” to the visit.
The Mexican president’s office said Mr. Peña Nieto had sent invitations last week to both Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton. The negotiations for both trips were first reported by The Washington Post. Mrs. Clinton’s campaign would not comment Tuesday on whether she had received the invitation.
Mr. Peña Nieto is reaching out to Mr. Trump in the
face of the Republican candidate’s antagonistic attitude toward Mexico
in his policies and campaign rallies. He has
said many Mexican immigrants who enter the United States
illegally are rapists, and he has repeatedly insisted that Mexico will
pay for his proposed wall along the southern United States border.
He is widely reviled in Mexico, where the wall
proposal has revived deep grievances over sovereignty and respect that
have historically dogged Mexico’s relationship with the United States.
“They are not our friend, believe me,” Mr. Trump said
in a speech last year in which he accused Mexico of treating the United
States unfairly, “but they are killing us economically.”
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending
their best,” he added. “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing
crime. They’re rapists, and some I assume are good people.”
Politicians in Mexico have largely remained silent on
Mr. Trump, though there have been outbursts, including from Mr. Peña
Nieto himself. In March, he compared Mr. Trump to Hitler and Mussolini
for what he called Mr. Trump’s strident remarks and populism, though he
later tried to soften his words without quite taking them back.
The trip will take place hours before Mr. Trump is
to give a speech in Phoenix that is expected to clarify his stance on
immigration, which has plagued his campaign over the past few weeks as
he has wavered on key elements of his platform. His campaign has given
conflicting signals over whether he will stick to the hard-line
positions he took during the Republican primaries, particularly on
deportations, and he suggested recently that he was open to “softening” some of his proposals.