Tuesday, August 30, 2016


This scoop, from Robert Costa and Karen De Young at The Washington Post, is just bizarre:
Donald Trump is considering jetting to Mexico City on Wednesday for a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, just hours before he delivers a high-stakes speech in Arizona to clarify his views on immigration policy, according to people in the United States and Mexico familiar with the discussions.
I heard about this on Rachel Maddow's show before I read the Post story, and I tried to figure out what the hell the Trump people are thinking. Do they want there to be threatening demonstrations in Mexico, so Trump can cancel his trip and say he told us the place is full of thugs who hate us? Does he want to go there and be confronted by angry mobs, just to show how brave he is? (No way. He's not brave.) What's the plan?

Well, according to Costa and De Young, the plan -- which they say came from the rabble-rousing Steve Bannon, not from one of the supposed voices of reason in the Trump inner circle -- is for Trump to look statesmanlike:
Bannon ... made the case ... that Trump must underscore his populist immigration views in the final weeks of the general-election campaign, perhaps with an audacious gesture.

Peña Nieto’s invitation was brought up, and Bannon said it offered Trump an opening to make headlines and showcase himself as a statesman who could deal directly with Mexico.

Trump was intrigued by Bannon’s proposal and agreed....
And I think that really is it. At LifeZette -- the online journal of Trump insider and immigration hardliner Laura Ingraham -- we read this:
For Trump ... it would reaffirm his willingness to sit down at the table with everyone -- even those who have spoken ill of him or America. A sit down with the Mexican president would highlight his calling card as a dealmaker and a serious negotiator genuinely interested in building a strong, yet equitable, relationship with America’s neighbor to the south.
But Trump obviously isn't going to come away with an agreement that Mexico will pay for the wall. The meeting might be civil, but, as Univision's Jorge Ramos notes, Peña Nieto has to show some backbone, for domestic political reasons:

What's the thinking here? That Trump's hardline voter base will stick with him even as he appears to be "softening" again, while suburban GOP moderates will just swoon and return to the fold based on a brief moment of insta-diplomacy? (Costa and De Young say that Trump plans to squeeze this meeting in between some California fundraisers in the morning and an Arizona speech on immigration in the evening, so there's not going to be time for a hell of a lot of substance.)

Or does Trump want Peña Nieto to be rude to him? Yes, Peña Nieto extended an invitation to Trump a couple of weeks ago, but he compared Trump to Hitler and Mussolini back in March. Is that the plan?

I don't think so. I think there's a bizarre belief in Trump World that he can be sold as a statesman. That LifeZette story goes on to say:
Trump’s outreach to African-American voters in the nation’s crumbling inner cities is an already powerful testament to the candidate’s willingness to try to change minds against steep odds. A Peña Nieto summit would further cast Trump as a leader willing to face headwinds to bring about greater unity.
They really think we're going to buy this. They think we'll believe that Trump the trash talker is now a mature, thoughtful man we'd be proud to have as president.

Then again, the mainstream media -- the Chuck Todds and Chris Cillizzas -- will probably swallow this BS. So maybe it's not so crazy.


H. Rumbold, Master Barber said...

I think he's going to try to make a Trump Taco Bowl franchise deal.

AllieG said...

I am sure that whatever happens in the meeting, the principals will give exactly contradictory accounts to their respective publics.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Trump's "softening" is going to attract white middle class ladies.

Victor said...

If you're trying to look statesmanlike, then you ain't statesmanlike!

I hope they give him a nice "special" glass of Mexican water when he's there, and t-RUMP shits and pukes on live TV.

Now THAT, I would gladly watch on PPV - maybe even if the charge was $100.

Unknown said...

"I can be a statesman like you wouldn't believe. Trust me."

Feud Turgidson said...

It brings to mind the story - "report" as right wing news aggregators put it - of Cnut Sweynsson, a.k.a. Cnut the Great, confronting the sea. That too was symbolic in that technically Cnut's physical interaction involved not so much the entire sea, which would be difficult and frankly look stupid, as a stretch of sea water Cnut could see from the shoreline that in turn (presumably) could sense him there.

Typically the liberal media has distorted the story to make it seem like the confrontation came about because Cnut was nuts, or at least had a gone, you know, a little funny in the head. But the unskewed facts (assuming the accuracy and reliability of sources) tell a very different tale.

Evidently - according to one set of sources - Cnut, at that time recently sworn into office (by some combination of the force of God's will and his own, as well as some possible assistance from combined armies under his command out of Denmark, Norway and parts of northwest France and the Low Countries between France and Denmark) of "king of all he could survey", had experienced a run of low public approval in relation to his policy platform, which included (in the sense of consisting entirely of) negotiating a treaty opening up a toll-free pathway from northwest Gaul to Rome so representatives of his entourage could attend an impending coronation, arranging for one of his putative daughters to marry the dude to be coronated in the office of Holy Roman Emperor, and looking magnificent and composed at some remove from various battlefields as his combined armies squashed designated foes.

Having achieved his policy goals, what followed was a period of relative peace (a lot of former opponents, or at assumed opponents at least, being now dead, and in consequence it'd become prohibitively difficult to find assemblies of apparently able-bodied men capable of being credibly designated as "enemy forces"), or a run of what Cnut and his supporters were calling "Cnut derangement syndrome". That took the form of possibly reliable "reports" of a general buzz from disgruntled losers, or their family members in mourning at least, about how Cnut was acting all imperious now, like he was some big deal and entitled to his own way on stuff.

So his entourage's media relations group set up this vise-op along the northwest continental shoreline of the North Sea for Cnut, at which Cnut would set up his one of his big fancy chairs within the tideline, order the sea to "roll back that tide", then when tide rolled in anyway, Cnut would turn to the crowd, particularly the media, and say something like, "See, I knew that was gonna happen. I knew in advance that I wasn't all powerful. Now, go tell everyone what a gracious and humble everyday okay dude you'd want to drink mead with I am".

It turned out that the lamestream media, as they do, twisted their reporting of the event into something ugly about "Crazy Cnut" thinking he was so all powerful he could control the tides, but in the end getting soaked like any ordinary schmub.

Donald Trump knows about that event, and he and his assistants have deconstructed it with meticulous care, to ensure his confrontation with Mexico, where he informs "Mexico" in no uncertain terms that we're putting up a big beautiful wall and yes, you Mexico are going to pay for it, doesn't get perverted in the telling like Cnut's confrontation with the sea.

For national and related security reasons, it's not clear whether Donald Trump will actually be technically standing on foreign soil when he tells Mexico what's what.