Did Donald Trump’s campaign win when he rolled the political dice and met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto? For the mainstream naysayers who advised the GOP presidential nominee to play it safe and stay home, they received a rude awakening, because Trump beat the political odds with his visit. Even some of his fiercest political detractors like Fox News contributors Steve Hayes of the Weekly Standard and syndicated columnist Krauthammer had to give Trump the thumbs up on his chancy political move.
What does it portend for the Trump presidential campaign now? In many respects it demonstrates that Trump does not have to be all in on one political strategy when it comes to dealing with illegal immigration. The billionaire businessman was able to meet on an even international stage with the president of Mexico and still maintain his strict adherence to building a wall on the nation’s southern border and reemphasize that Mexico will still pay for it.
The Hillary camp was left with that heads swirling as Trump and Mexican President Peña Nieto offered statesman remarks which concluded their meeting. What was clear that Trump, unlike Clinton, was willing to make the calculated gamble that going into the lion’s den much like the Biblical hero Daniel was how leadership is shown.
Clinton was left to bemoan Trump’s visit by offering fitful demeaning remarks in speaking to an American Legion’s national convention in Ohio, she criticized him, saying, “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. That’s not how it works.”
Unfortunately for Clinton, who has been losing ground in the national polls, apparently playing it safe by dodging the American campaign press core for over 270 days without a press conference, this is not how one shows leadership. While Clinton has not held a press conference since December 4, 2015, Trump has made the calculated risk of being totally accessible to any and all media. Clinton hides while Trump takes on all media friend or media foe.
Based upon this type of political leadership it is predictable to see how Trump has energized the political landscape while Clinton has been left sputtering in the safety of her Brooklyn headquarters spin room. Good or bad, Trump has laid out his political markers right on the American kitchen table. He has stressed that he is tired and so is America of risking America’s safety and its future with Washington insiders, political pay to play Clinton schemes and her State Department email corruption that would have sent normal Americans to the slammer.
Trump deserves an additional political high five for not only meeting with the Mexican president but also that evening giving a firm and very focused as well as detailed illegal immigration solution speech in Phoenix, Arizona. There were some in the political mainstream clouds who felt that Trump should have simply added his Mexican meeting to his campaign chalkboard and simply walked away from giving the Phoenix speech.
But walking away from giving a speech which would work to define his illegal immigration solution for America as well as sending a signal to the world about what a Trump presidency would mean would show weakness and reflect tepidness. That is not an act of leadership.
What is interesting and even perplexing for many Trump detractors is how each will now seek to find an avenue to marginalize the winning political photo of both the Mexican president and Trump shaking hands. That photo is and will be the turning point in a campaign that has found its international political footing.
As the old adage goes: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In this case that photo may play the winning ground work for 270 electoral votes. Certainly that was a political risk worth taking.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_2.jpg; CC by 3.0