Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump traveled to Mexico for a few hours on Wednesday afternoon to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. After speaking for over an hour in private and then making public remarks together, it seemed like the trip might have gone well. Except that Mexico's president told Trump the country wouldn't pay for his wall, which has been one of the real estate mogul's main policy objectives since he announced his candidacy for president. Nieto's statement that he put his foot down about who would finance the border wall is further complicated by the fact that Trump, after the trip, told reporters that he and the Mexican leader didn't discuss the details of the proposed border wall at all.
According to Reuters, Trump said, "We did discuss the wall, we didn’t discuss payment of the wall, that will be at a later date, this was a very preliminary meeting. It was an excellent meeting."
Given each of their statements, one of two things had to have happened during the meeting. Either Nieto said that he wouldn't pay for the wall and Trump didn't want to talk about that in front of cameras or Trump didn't bring up the financing of the wall at all, which is a sign that the presidential candidate doesn't quite understand how diplomacy works and sort of botched the political negotiation. Both options aren't good looks for Trump.
The building of a border wall and making Mexico pay for it has been the crux of Trump's campaign all year. Much of the support for Trump comes from voters who are very concerned about securing the borders and this wall has been a major talking point throughout his campaign. If Nieto won't pay for it, Trump would have a lot of numbers to crunch to make good on his promise to his supporters.
Then again, Trump can literally do no wrong when it comes to his base. On CNN, Joe Arpaio, an Arizona sheriff and Trump supporter said, "What difference does it make? The wall's important no matter who pays." So maybe it doesn't matter that the businessman allegedly didn't discuss any business on his Mexican trip.
Stepping away from the he said/he said dispute about what went down in the private meeting, there's another obstacle to Trump's border wall. Nieto reportedly doesn't like Donald Trump. Earlier this year, Nieto likened Trump to Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini, since he felt the Republican candidate's platform was steeped in racism and xenophobia. Nieto has said in other interviews that there is no way Mexico would ever support or pay for the border wall Trump is proposing.
So even if it was an "excellent" and "preliminary" meeting, as Trump described it on Wednesday, Mexico and U.S. relations would not be easy if Trump were elected president. After today's meeting, anyone voting for Trump because they think he can make good on the border wall pledge should think twice. It's not going to be an easy real estate deal.