U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump stated that he will travel to Mexico on Wednesday to meet its president, only hours before delivering a highly anticipated speech on how he will manage illegal immigration.
Trump tweeted on Tuesday night that he looks forward to the meeting with the Mexican leader.
Pena Nieto’s office also confirmed the meeting with its own tweet, saying the two men would meet privately.
“I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him tomorrow,” Trump said.
The meeting will be Trump’s first official interaction with a foreign leader since he began his presidential campaign more than a year ago, however it would mark his second visit to a foreign country as earlier this summer he travelled to Scotland to attend the re-opening of one of his golf resorts, but notably didn’t meet with any UK political leaders.
Such a sudden trip by a U.S. presidential candidate could hold some risks, however it is expected to win wide media coverage.
Pena Nieto has dismissed Trump’s demand that Mexico pay for a border wall that the New York businessman has pledged to build if elected on Nov. 8. “There is no way that Mexico could pay for a wall like that,” he told CNN on July 10.
Trump has shown willingness to soften his hardline stance to a “fair and humane” policy ahead of the election, and is scheduled to deliver what is billed as a vital speech Wednesday evening in Phoenix, Arizona, anticipated as an opportunity to clarify his positions on immigration.
Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has also been invited to a meeting with Pena Nieto but it is not yet clear if she has accepted, although her spokeswoman took a dim view of Trump’s trip.
“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,” spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said in a statement.