I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him tomorrow.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2016
The official Twitter account of the president of Mexico appeared to confirm the report, tweeting shortly after Trump that the meeting would be “in private.” And Peña Nieto tweeted from his own account that he had invited both presidential candidates to discuss the bilateral relationship.
Invité a México a los candidatos a la Presidencia de EEUU, para conversar sobre la relación bilateral. Mañana recibo a Donald Trump.— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) August 31, 2016
The Washington Post first reported Tuesday night that Trump was considering the last-minute trip to Mexico City. Trump tweeted confirmation shortly before he took the stage for a rally in Washington state Tuesday night, but he did not mention the visit in his remarks.
While there was no immediate word on whether Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPennsylvania GOP authorizes subpoenas in election probe We must mount an all-country response to help our Afghan allies Biden nominates ex-State Department official as Export-Import Bank leader MORE will make a similar trip, her campaign released a statement late Tuesday night from communications director Jennifer Palmieri.
"From the first days of his campaign, Donald Trump has painted Mexicans as 'rapists’ and criminals and has promised to deport 16 million people, including children and U.S. citizens,” she said.
“He has said we should force Mexico to pay for his giant border wall. He has said we should ban remittances to families in Mexico if Mexico doesn't pay up. What ultimately matters is what Donald Trump says to voters in Arizona, not Mexico, and whether he remains committed to the splitting up of families and deportation of millions."
For Peña Nieto, the meeting comes at a difficult political time.
Trump has been telegraphing a potential shift on the issue of immigration for more than a week, and his public comments have muddied the waters.
In two recent interviews, Trump used both the words “softening” and “hardening” to describe his immigration evolution.
Most observers don't expect he will announce any major policy changes Wednesday in Phoenix. Instead, they think he’ll use rhetoric to try to appeal to both his base and the new audiences he needs to bring under his tent.
A perceived shift on the issue could undercut Trump’s declaration that he’s different from typical politicians, especially since he launched his campaign with harsh rhetoric against Mexicans and a promise to build a wall and make America's southern neighbor pay for it.
Trump had planned to address the issue of immigration last week in Colorado but postponed that event. The Arizona event scheduled for Wednesday was originally billed as an immigration speech, but the Trump camp then said it would focus on party unity instead. It was canceled on Friday, before Trump clarified that it would simply move to a larger venue.
Updated 12:14 a.m.