Trump’s Mexico visit precedes his immigration speech

"I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him tomorrow," Trump tweeted.

August 31, 2016 10:11 am | Updated October 18, 2016 02:38 pm IST - Washington

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was to meet Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Wednesday in a hastily arranged visit to Mexico hours before delivering a highly anticipated speech on how he will tackle illegal immigration.

True to Mr. Trump’s flair for the dramatic, the visit will guarantee widespread news coverage for the former reality TV star. It also carries some risks for him, however, since most foreign visits at the presidential level are long-planned and carefully scripted.

On immigration, drugs

Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, speaking on NBC’s “Today” show on Wednesday, portrayed the Republican candidate’s visit as a “decisive presidential move”. Asked if he would speak to his host in the same blunt terms he has used at home, Ms. Conway said Mr. Trump would be “very presidential”.

“I think they’ll have a productive conversation today ... about illegal immigration but also trade policy and drugs,” she told NBC. Mr. Trump had announced the trip on Twitter on Tuesday night and it was confirmed in another tweet by the Mexican government. The private meeting, which Mr. Trump and his advisers began considering last week after Mr. Pena Nieto’s invitation, will be Mr. Trump’s first official interaction with a foreign leader since he began his presidential campaign more than a year ago.

Mr. Pena Nieto has dismissed Mr. Trump’s demand that Mexico pay for a border wall that he has pledged to build if elected.

The talks were to take place hours before a major speech by Mr. Trump on Wednesday night as he seeks to straddle a fine line between being tough on illegal immigration and giving moderate voters a reason to give his candidacy a fresh look. Ms. Clinton has also been invited to a meeting with Mr. Pena Nieto but it is not yet clear if she has accepted

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