It seems there has been a political casualty from the ill-fated meeting between Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The Mexican cabinet minister who advised Nieto to extend invitations to both Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has been removed from his position (or forcefully made to resign).
On Wednesday, CNN reported that Nieto issued a statement announcing the abrupt resignation of Mexican Finance Minister Luis Videgaray, leading many to speculate that his ouster was designed to allow the president to save face with the Mexican people.
An astounding 85 percent of Mexicans surveyed said that inviting Trump was a terrible idea, and it’s easy to see why. From the first day of his campaign, Trump has insisted that Mexico is sending criminals and rapists across the border.
The New York Times reported:
In the days after the meeting, the president scrambled to contain the fallout and repair the damage in a television interview, a newspaper column and a town hall-style meeting. But these steps seemed to do little to mollify many Mexicans, who accused the president of humiliating the nation, first by inviting Mr. Trump and then by failing to use the opportunity to push back against the candidate’s criticism of Mexico and Mexicans.
Mexican citizens mainly took issue with the fact that Nieto wrongly treated Trump like a serious political dignitary, feeling that Nieto failed to confront the xenophobic billionaire face to face for Trump’s rhetoric.
Some speculate that Nieto had hoped the visit would distract from an ongoing political scandal in which it was revealed that he had plagiarized his college thesis. Mexico also faces a shrinking economy and a skyrocketing national murder rate; these factors possibly account for his dismal 23 percent approval rating.
“I really don’t understand how our president could invite this man. The president should be answering the insults and the lack respect that man has shown us, but instead he’s being friendly. Trump wants to build a wall, almost like the Berlin wall. Nothing good can come of this visit” said newspaper salesman Ángel Díaz of the visit.
It seems, for now, the political bloodletting in Mexico has stopped. However, Nieto shaking hands with perhaps the most hated man in Mexico does not do much to improve his horrific poll numbers.
Featured image via ABC News