Despite a three-thousand mile trip to Mexico City and an attempt at looking statesmanlike (“Hey, he didn’t fart out loud”), Donald Trump went back to his old immigration rhetoric in his much-anticipated speech in Phoenix. Via TPM.
The speech was strikingly similar to many he has given across the country over the last year and a half. After weeks of speculation and hints from his team about Trump’s immigration plan, the candidate landed exactly where he had been all along–on the extreme fringe of the Republican Party.
The speech culminated a bizarre day that included Trump’s impromptu trip to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, which provided Trump with a photo op on the international stage, but quickly devolved afterwards when the Mexican president accused Trump of not being entirely clear about what transpired in their meeting. While Trump told reporters Wednesday that the issue of payment for the border wall (which he insisted again on Wednesday night would be paid for by Mexico) never came up, Peña Nieto publicly insisted later that he had informed Trump his country wouldn’t be financing the barrier.
Earlier in the day, Trump hinted that his immigration plan might at the very least be the same plan cloaked in a new vocabulary. Standing at a lectern next to Peña Nieto in Mexico, Trump had been careful to embrace the Mexican people as “amazing” – a swift reversal for a candidate who had spent the campaign berating Mexico and broadly painting undocumented immigrants as violent criminals.
By Wednesday evening, however, back across the border in Phoenix there was not even a touch of softening on the edges. Trump promised – as he has many times before– to require “extreme vetting” for refugees coming into the country and flat out declared he would block refugees from coming from areas like Syria and Libya.
“We are going to stop the tens of thousands of people coming in from Syria. We have no idea who they are, where they come from, there’s no documentation, there’s no paperwork,” Trump said. “It’s going to end badly, folks.”
The speech was a big hit with white supremacists and the Nazis, and according to the punditocracy, this was Nixon in China and yeah, how come Hillary Clinton won’t hold a press conference?