Enrique pulls a Tip O'Neill
Once upon a time, the Democrats had a speaker of the House named Tip O'Neill. We remember him for having a good relationship with President Reagan. He also said that "all politics is local"!
President Enrique [not Ernesto –ed.] Peña-Nieto of Mexico just cancelled his trip to Washington next week. This is exhibit A of what Speaker O'Neill was talking about years ago.
Down in Mexico, President Peña-Nieto is about as unpopular as any politician that I can remember. In the past, Mexican presidents became unpopular after leaving office. I frankly do not recall one this unpopular with two years to go (2012-18).
To be fair, he is unpopular because he tried to reform some sacred cows, such as the PEMEX oil monopoly and the corrupt teachers union. In other words, the left has been after President Peña-Nieto for a couple of years.
President Peña-Nieto is canceling the visit because of what President Trump tweeted last night.
Let's review the events:
He made the announcement that he would skip the Jan. 31 session a few minutes before noon on his Twitter account.
This is the translated text:
"This morning we informed the White House that I will not attend the working meeting scheduled for next Tuesday with @POTUS. Mexico reiterates its willingness to work with the United States to reach agreements on behalf of both nations."
A few hours earlier, Trump threatened to cancel a meeting scheduled for next week with the president of Mexico if the neighboring country is not willing to pay for a border wall.
"If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting" with Peña Nieto, Trump wrote on Twitter.
After Nieto's announcement, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said the two leaders may yet meet at a date to be determined.
"We'll look for a date to schedule something in the future," Spicer told reporters as he exited Air Force One in Philadelphia, where Trump was attending a GOP retreat. "We will keep the lines of communication open."
On Wednesday Trump signed an executive order authorizing the planned wall, just as a Mexican delegation led by Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray arrived at the White House for talks.
The timing caused outrage in Mexico, with prominent politicians and many on social media seeing at as a deliberate snub to the government's efforts to engage with Trump, who has for months used Mexico as a political punching bag.
Frankly, I am very disappointed with both sides.
Up here, I do not understand why President Trump continues to bang the drum by saying that Mexico will pay for the wall. Build the darnn wall, and move on to more important things.
Down in Mexico, President Peña-Nieto has surrendered to an irrational political class that does not want to have a frank conversation about illegal immigration.
Don't be surprised if President Peña-Nieto's approval goes up, but the Mexican peso goes down!
We need for both countries to stop this silly posturing and get down to issues that really matter, such as cash and weapons going south plus people and drugs going north.
Based on my conversations with many Mexican friends and business people, I am convinced that building a wall would do wonders to stop those aforementioned weapons and cash boxes going south every day. The weapons are killing Mexicans and the cash is corrupting the system.
Unfortunately, the leaders won't meet and the left in Mexico, and probably in other countries, couldn't be happier. I'd bet that they are preparing their placards about "El trumpo the ugly gringo."