After spending a significant portion of his campaign making less-than-favorable comments about Mexican immigrants and calling for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, Donald Trump accepted Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's invitation to meet with him. But where was Hillary Clinton while this meeting was taking place? According to a statement Peña Nieto's office provided to The Washington Post, Clinton was invited to meet with the Mexican president too, but she has not yet responded.
ABC News reported that Clinton's campaign confirmed that the Democratic nominee had received an invitation from Peña Nieto. Her campaign also said that Clinton hopes to meet with him soon, though the campaign did not clarify why she has not yet accepted the invitation. She met with him last in 2014. However, Clinton certainly had a quick response to Trump's visit; at the American Legion's national convention in Cincinnati, she slammed her opponent's meeting with Peña Nieto for being little more than a "photo op."
"You don't build a coalition by insulting our friends or acting like a loose cannon," the Democratic nominee said. "You do it by putting in the slow, hard work of building relationships." Clinton proceeded by attacking Trump's track record, and referencing the "insults" he had launched at Mexico and its immigrants over the course of his campaign.
Getting countries working together was my job every day as your secretary of state. It's more than a photo op. It takes consistency and reliability. Actually, it's just like building personal relationships. People have to get to know that they can count on you, that you won't say one thing one day and something totally different the next. And it certainly takes more than trying to make up for a year of insults and insinuations by dropping in on our neighbors for a few hours and then flying home again. That is not how it works.
Clinton's campaign didn't stop there, either. In a statement to CNN, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta criticized Trump for changing his arguments depending on whoever is in the audience. Podesta was referring to the fact that during a joint news conference with Peña Nieto after their meeting, Trump said the two men hadn't discussed payment for the wall — even though Peña Nieto later tweeted that he had made it clear Mexico wouldn't be paying.
"Donald Trump has made his outlandish policy of forcing Mexico to pay for his giant wall the centerpiece of his campaign," Podesta said. "But at the first opportunity to make good on his offensive campaign promises, Trump choked. What we saw today from a man who claims to be the ultimate 'deal maker' is that he doesn't have the courage to advocate for his campaign promises when he's not in front of a friendly crowd."
Whether or not Clinton will ultimately meet with Peña Nieto remains to be seen, but she and many Mexico City residents already seem to be in agreement: The overwhelming feeling in the Mexican capital right now, according to The New York Times, is that it was a mistake to invite someone to the country who had spent so much time insulting its citizens, and offensive that Trump would accept.