Pat Buchanan: Conquistador TrumpPatrick J. Buchanan
Sep. 02, 2016
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In accepting the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto to fly to Mexico City, the Donald was taking a major risk.
Yet it was a bold and decisive move, and it paid off in what was the best day of Donald Trump's campaign.
Standing beside Nieto, graciously complimenting him and speaking warmly of Mexico and its people, Trump looked like a president. And the Mexican president treated him like one, even as Trump restated the basic elements of his immigration policy, including the border wall.
The gnashing of teeth up at The New York Times testifies to Trump's triumph:
"Mr. Trump has spent his entire campaign painting Mexico as a nation of rapists, drug smugglers, and trade hustlers. … But instead of chastising Mr. Trump, Mr. Pena Nieto treated him like a visiting head of state … with side-by-side lecterns and words of deferential mush."
As I wrote in August, Trump "must convince the nation … he is an acceptable, indeed, a preferable alternative" to Hillary Clinton, whom the nation does not want.
In Mexico City, Trump did that. He reassured voters who are leaning toward him that he can be president. As for those who are apprehensive about his temperament, they saw reassurance.
For validation, one need not rely on supporters of Trump. Even Mexicans who loathe Trump are conceding his diplomatic coup.
"Trump achieved his purpose," said journalism professor Carlos Bravo Regidor. "He looked serene, firm, presidential." Our "humiliation is now complete," tweeted an anchorman at Televisa.
President Nieto's invitation to Trump "was the biggest stupidity in the history of the Mexican presidency," said academic Jesus Silva-Herzog.
Not since Gen. Winfield Scott arrived for a visit in 1847 have Mexican elites been this upset with an American.