04:22 GMT17 January 2021
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    US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump scored a major victory in his talks with Mexico’s president this week because it helped him appear “presidential,” former EU advisor Paolo von Schirach told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, Trump flew to Mexico City and held an hour of talks with Mexican President Enrique Pena-Nieto, where they discussed a range of issues including commerce and border security.

    “With his hastily arranged visit to Mexico in order to discuss bilateral issues, including immigration and trade, with Mexico's President Pena Nieto, Donald Trump scored a major public relations victory,” Schirach said on Thursday.

    At a single stroke, Schirach pointed out, Trump confounded his many critics who have claimed he was incapable of appearing presidential or credible in meeting major world leaders.

    “TV footage showing him standing right next to Pena Nieto, a real head of state automatically makes Trump look ‘presidential.’ This is a big deal for a man now ridiculed by his US political opponents as a buffoon,” Schirach suggested.

    Schirach acknowledged that Trump’s account of the talks differed from what Pena Nieto told Mexican media.

    “Pena Nieto indicated that of course the Mexicans would not consider paying for the border wall that Trump promised he will build,” he noted. “With the Mexican President, his host, standing right next to him, Trump said nothing about his guarantee that the wall will be built and Mexico will pay for it.”

    However, Trump’s gains from the meeting far outweigh its perceived shortcomings, Schirach maintained.

    “Trump still wins this one. He held a summit with the Mexican president, the elected political leader of one of America's main trading partners. Purely by virtue of ‘being there,’ sharing the podium with a president of a major country, Trump now can sell himself as ‘presidential,’’ Schirach said.

    Since Pena-Nieto, a head of state of a major nation, had agreed to meet with Trump and discuss major issues affecting the US-Mexico bilateral relationship, Trump now appeared on the international stage as a credible interlocutor, Schirach remarked.

    “The imagery offered by Trump's visit to Mexico sharply contradicts the narrative chosen by the Democrats.”

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and all her surrogates have claimed that Trump is unfit to govern, but this tactic had now been destroyed by the impressive images of Trump in Mexico, Schirach explained.

    “Whatever the Democrats say, Trump is credible enough for President Pena Nieto of Mexico. Pena Nieto certainly did not have to meet with the Republican candidate. But he chose to do so, this way implicitly giving Trump presidential credentials.”

    Trump is not the only presidential candidate to travel abroad during an election in recent years. In 2008, then-US Senator Barack Obama delivered a speech in Berlin amid the presidential race, and Mitt Romney toured Europe in 2012.


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