My latest piece for Refinery 29 takes on Donald Trump’s two very different speeches on opposite sides of the US – Mexico border and why they gave me “whiplash.” Read the piece here: http://www.refinery29.com/2016/09/121984/trump-immigration-speeches-mexico-arizona-compared
Why Trump’s Speech On Immigration Gave Me Whiplash
Whiplash. It’s the only word that comes to mind when I think about how I felt watching the two competing — and starkly different — speeches Donald Trump delivered on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border yesterday.
Trump started Wednesday as one of the best days of his campaign. Talking heads on cable news, including myself, were praising his bold decision to accept Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s invitation to meet with him in Mexico.
Standing side by side with the Mexican president, Trump lookedpresidential. He was respectful in recognizing the positive contributions Mexican-Americans have made to the United States (something I appreciated as a daughter of a Mexican immigrant). He delivered thoughtful remarks laying out a new hemisphere-centric philosophy and promising to strengthen our bilateral relationship to confront common challenges. Like many, I felt Trump’s Mexico speech was a powerful way to crush questions on his temperament and reduce voter concerns.
As the press conference concluded, Trump’s Mexican gamble seemed to be paying off: Voters like me started to feel optimistic and hopeful that this signaled a new direction on immigration that was fair and firm. His visit to Mexico was helping Trump finally move past last week’s difficulties when he vacillated on what he has made his signature issue. As his speech approached that evening, I thought he was going to give much-needed clarity on his positions on enforcement and how to deal with the 11 million people currently living illegally in the U.S. What to do with the undocumented population already here is an issue too many politicians have either failed to successfully address or avoided completely.
The first cracks in the wall (pun intended), however, appeared soon after both men left the podium. In a tweet, Peña Nieto said he made it clear to Trump that Mexico will never pay for his proposed wall. Trump has continued to insist that Mexico would pay 100%.
As the sun set on Trumpland and the candidate took the stage in Arizona, it was like a dark cloud had rolled in on the once-hopeful day. In Phoenix, the same old Trump came out roaring with such vengeance, it was hard to tell if I was watching a live speech or a rerun from the primaries.