23:58 GMT +316 July 2019
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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto shake hands at a press conference at the Los Pinos residence in Mexico City.

    Trump’s Mexico Visit Giant Step Toward Winning Presidential Election - Official

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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena-Nieto in Mexico City this week transformed his public image and brought him closer to winning the November election, former US diplomat Anthony Salvia told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Trump said after the meeting with Pena-Nieto on Wednesday that Mexico would pay for a wall that the Republican nominee wants to build along the border to block illegal immigrants from coming to the United States.

    "Trump's meeting with the president of Mexico and subsequent speech in Phoenix have done more to ensure his election than anything else he has said or done so far," Salvia said.

    Salvia observed that at the meeting, Trump displayed an impressive public demeanor to counter claims by the campaign of his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton that he lacked the bearing and demeanor to represent his country.

    Trump "appeared presidential, was gracious to his Mexican hosts, and did not back down from his declared intention to build a wall and secure the US border," the former diplomat pointed out.

    Salvia said Trump had also displayed diplomatic tact in not demanding directly that Mexico pay for the costs of erecting the wall in his one hour meeting with the Mexican leader.

    "Wisely, he did not raise the matter of paying for the wall on his first encounter with the Mexican head of state. That can be broached later," he remarked.

    Salvia noted that after his talks with Pena-Nieto, Trump raised the possibility of using resources seized from drug cartel chiefs who were wanted criminals in Mexico as well as the United States to finance the construction of his proposed land border barrier.

    Trump "subsequently said he is looking into seizing assets from Mexican drug kingpins to defray the cost of the wall," Salvia said.

    Salvia said that the favorable image Trump displayed in his talks with the chief of state of a major neighboring nation would count for far more with the US public than the details on where the funds to pay for the wall would come from.

    "Frankly, Americans concerned about border security are more concerned that the border be secured than by who is paying for it," he explained.

    Anthony Salvia was Special Advisor to the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs under President Ronald Reagan, director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Moscow bureau and is a partner at Global Strategic Communications Group.

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