“I think I made a snap decision that maybe today would be different,” said President Peña Nieto in an interview on the show Todo Personal with Bibiana Belsasso regarding Donald Trump’s visit. “It was a very controversial decision and I accept [that decision]. If today I weighed what happened with Trump’s visit, I would say that it was perhaps a decision made in haste even though I believe it was important for Mexico.”
And it is true, aside from underlying motives, the trip was rushed and as President Peña himself said in the interview, it damaged the government and its image. It is also true that if the decision were made today, it would be different. Mostly because the U.S. election landscape has changed and Trump appears defensive, even having to change part of his rhetoric about the wall. As will be remembered, one of the points of debate from his trip was if he had spoken about the wall and if Mexico would pay for it or not: Trump said that he talked about it with the president and reiterated that Mexico would pay for the wall. President Peña maintained that he told Trump that our country would never pay for the wall and he unleashed a tirade on Twitter on the subject. This week, Trump said the United States will build the wall and that afterwards, Mexico will “reimburse” the expenses.
But beyond that, since the release of the video with Trump using all kinds of crude expressions regarding women including one where he said, “When you’re a star [. . .] you can do anything [even] grab them by the pussy,” his candidacy has not been able to recover.
Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, admitted this Sunday that her candidate is behind in the polls, but there is still time before the election and that he can come back. She went on to say that the deficit is not only because of the opponent Hillary Clinton, but also because of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, current President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. Although this may be the case, it is not the main problem for Trump: He is trailing because he has lost the support of the Republican Party. Former presidents Bush, father and son, have publicly withdrawn their support. Previous presidential candidates such as John McCain and Mitt Romney have done so as well. Republican congressional leaders do not endorse Trump; he has the support of only one senator and the majority of Republican governors distance themselves.
It has been weeks since any Republican figure was seen at a Trump rally and the party rejection is such that businesspeople who have made contributions to the campaign are publicly asking that their funds be used for congressional candidates or flat out refunded.
Like Peña Nieto, Republican leaders could say that allowing him to compete and eventually become their candidate was a hasty decision and with today’s circumstances they would have possibly made another decision. It is incredible the way Trump poached the Republican candidacy yet he could still do them even more harm. Because Trump is thinking in terms of business instead of politics, his objective appears to be drawing from the ultraconservative following he has gained during the campaign to create a television news network more rightwing than even the very conservative Fox News Channel. This comes with the backing of Roger Ailes, former chairman of Fox News, who some months back was forced to resign from the network after accusations of sexual harassment by several anchors and then became the senior adviser to the Trump campaign.
There will be no lack of money since, despite saying he would invest up to one hundred million dollars from his own pocket on the campaign, Trump has not spent a single dollar on himself. Instead he has come out ahead because the campaign hires Trump businesses for services like traveling on the private airplane, which is property of the business, and meals supplied by another of his own companies. And, perhaps, he may wind up making some very good deals that were already planned before the campaign like the one with Vladimir Putin in Russia where they are seeking investors to build shopping malls, casinos and apartment buildings. It’s not for nothing that Trump has sparred with all the historical U.S. allies from Great Britain to Japan, from Germany to Mexico, and from Canada to South Korea, but he has not grown weary of praising Putin.
Trump is not only misogynistic and racist, a protectionist convinced that everything can be resolved by force, he is also the incarnation of how a political failure can turn into a business and how those very businesses can come into play in the fight for power without putting in even one dollar from his own pocket.