Washington: Donald Trump announced he will travel to Mexico on Wednesday to meet with the country's president, just hours ahead of the Republican White House hopeful's much-anticipated Arizona speech on immigration.
"I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him tomorrow," Trump posted on Twitter.
Trump has routinely assailed Mexican immigrants who illegally cross the border into the United States, and he has made hardline immigration policies, including calls for deportations, a key plank of his campaign.
I have accepted the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto, of Mexico, and look very much forward to meeting him tomorrow.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 31, 2016
Pena Nieto's office released a statement saying he had invited Trump as well as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to meet with him in Mexico, but "there is no confirmation of meetings at this point," CNN had reported earlier.
A sudden international trip by a US presidential candidate would be a logistical and security nightmare on such short notice.
But Trump could be sensing an opportunity in the visit, as he mulls whether to soften his hard-line position on immigration, the key issue of his campaign, and in particular Trump's early call to deport some 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows in the United States.
Any Trump-Pena Nieto meeting could be an awkward affair. In rally after campaign rally, Trump has pledged to "build a wall" on the US southern border and force Mexico to pay for it.
When he launched his presidential campaign last year, he used some of the most incendiary language of his candidacy in describing some Mexicans as drug dealers, "rapists" and other criminals.
Trump is scheduled to deliver a crucial speech on Wednesday evening in Phoenix, Arizona seen as an opportunity to clarify his positions on immigration.
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Updated Date: Oct 25, 2016 15:21:06 IST