What the hell was that? How can one campaign for more than a year on not only building a border wall but having Mexico pay for it — and then neglect half of the issue when one has a face-to-face meeting with Mexico's president? Is that the tactic of a brilliant negotiator?
All Trump had to say on the matter at his notecard conference this afternoon was that "We recognize and respect the right of either country to build a physical barrier or wall." Who doesn't recognize this? Of course we can build physical barriers on our territory. Indeed we already possess such barriers. The Trumpian heart of the issue has been that Mexico, however, will pay for the whole shebang next time around. And yet Trump doesn't even bring it up in his meeting with Peña Nieto?
Speaking of whom, I can see why the man has a presidential approval rating of 23 percent. Trump changed nothing in his U.S. domestic standing by meeting with Peña Nieto, but Peña Nieto probably just achieved an even lower approval rating at home. He offered a public-relations platform for the most hated man in Mexico, and nothing else: no nationally prideful pushback, no righteous criticism of Trump, no nothing. What a wimp.
Update: I just heard about this on "Hardball." So I looked it up and sure enough, with the aid of an online translator, there it is, President Peña Nieto's tweeted claim that he told Trump in their meeting that Mexico would not pay for the wall:
"At the beginning of the conversation with Donald Trump I made it clear that Mexico will not pay for the wall."
So after the fact — after the news conference, that is — he's calling Trump a liar. This would have been more effectively delivered, well, at the news conference.
Nevertheless, the Clinton campaign is now delightfully calling Trump a choke artist. And adding this: