|YURI CORTEZ/AFP-GETTY IMAGES|
SEE, MY HANDS ARE MUCH LARGER THAN YOURS
What could possibly go wrong? Donald Trump ventured south of the border yesterday to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on a fool's errand that was preordained to further reveal him as a self-absorbed bully. And of course did.
In making the last-minute detour to Mexico City at the invitation of a national leader as unpopular as himself, El Trumpo broke several cardinal political rules: Mexico is a minor power, so why go there when your campaign is tanking? It has a populace deeply angered at a man who seized the Republican nomination by advocating building a border wall, deporting 11 million illegal immigrants and calling Mexicans rapists, drug smugglers and hustlers, so why go there? The potential for bad things happening when you're a control freak and won't have control is high, so why go there? There is no way you can dominate, let alone leverage, a visit deep behind enemy lines, so why go there? And a Hail Maria pass at this point in your campaign looks absurd, so why go there?
If you're El Trumpo, you go there because you're so self absorbed that you can't see how humiliating the visit is to Mexicans and how stupidly transparent you look to anyone who has noticed you've changed your position on immigration 13 times in the last 10 days, by one count. That making kissy face with your adoring fans on the other side of that wall you'd build becomes even more important than winning.
El Trumpo's plane had not even cleared Mexican airspace when his description of the carefully choreographed meeting with Nieto began to unravel in what one pundit called an example of "peak absurdity."
El Trumpo said that there had been no discussion about which country would pay for his $25 billion wall, while Nieto said that he had made it clear that Mexico would not spend a single peso for it. A spokesman for El Trumpo seemed to confirm Nieto's version by saying it should not be surprising that the two disagreed.
Once back in the U.S. and a like a true bully, the candidate discarded his bromide-filled Mexico City whimper for a red-meat Phoenix roar. What El Trumpo's ventriloquists had hoped would be a "game changer" was more of the drearily vile same.
After intros from fellow racists Rudy Giuliani and Jeff Sessions, El Trumpo brought the crowd to its feet with a shouting, gesticulating nativist rant, declaring that a new "deportation force" was needed to expel criminal aliens roaming our streets, killing hapless citizens and stealing our jobs, all of which was the fault of President Obama and that Clinton woman, and that he would build that damned wall and make America safe again.
Mass deportation was back on the table after being off the table after being on the table. In fact, 6 million people would be deported immediately after El Trumpo took office. There was nothing about amnesty for aliens already in-country that his ventriloquists had hinted at in a vain attempt to make him seem human, while "extreme vetting" for Muslims was back in the rotation.
And for good measure El Trumpo again mocked Hillary Clinton, calling her a criminal and wondering aloud if "maybe they will deport her."
THE NEWS MEDIA JUMPS THE SHARK
Do you remember when presidential campaigns were about the issues? That was all the way back in . . . well, 2012. But the news media is so possessed with the back story -- the slow-motion meltdown of El Trumpo's campaign and Hillary Clinton's ongoing fandango with trustworthiness, that when something really worth covering actually happens, it has its head up its collective posterior.
On Monday, tapping into an issue that touches on mass shootings, rising suicide rates and the travails of homeless veterans, Clinton rolled out a sweeping plan to deal with the mental health crisis in the U.S. Mental health would be treated as is physical health through reforming billing procedures and encouraging the integration of mental health in to medical practices.
In fact, Clinton's initiative piggybacks on one of the very few examples of bipartisan support in Congress -- a bill already passed by the House (!!!) that would compel the government to reform its halting mental-health efforts.
But the big news on Monday, according to The New York Times, was that "a new cloud had been cast" over the Clinton campaign because Anthony Weiner -- the sexting-addicted husband and stay-at-home dad to Huma Abedin, Clinton's closest aide -- had been caught with his pants down again and Clinton won't be a good president because she can't control what her aides' spouses do and . . .
Outrageous. Disgusting. Sad.
POLITIX UPDATE IS WRITTEN BY SHAUN MULLEN, A VETERAN JOURNALIST AND BLOGGER FOR WHOM THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS HIS 12th SINCE 1968. CLICK HERE FOR AN INDEX OF PREVIOUS COLUMNS.
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