Opinion

A tale of two campaign stops: is Trump making a comeback?

The Republican candidate's trips to Louisiana and Mexico could give him an edge, writes Enrique Acevedo.
1 Sep 2016 – 6:20 PM EDT

Two unconventional campaign stops have resurrected Donald Trump's unconventional hopes to win the presidency.

A few hours in Louisiana and Mexico could end up doing more to move the needle in his favor than a month's worth of speeches around the country.

Timing was key. Trump's new team reacted quickly to the tragic news about a looming catastrophe in Baton Rouge and other parts of Louisiana.

His trip came at a moment when the Hillary Clinton camp decided not to go to Louisiana, and thought no one could damage Trump's aspirations more than Trump himself.

The visit also coincided with President Obama's vacation in Martha's Vineyard providing the media with powerful optics and an inescapable narrative: Trump was helping flood victims while the president was playing golf.

Behind Clinton by a considerable margin in every major poll, Trump's last chance for an improbable comeback was under way.

Then came the meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. At nearly the same time, the Trump and Clinton campaigns both received an invitation from Mexico's government to visit the country and meet with the president. Once again, Trump's new management was quick to grab the political lifeline.

The Republican candidate's team accepted the invitation. The meeting would happen at a date and a time of Trump's choosing.

And so, a little over a year after launching his campaign insulting Mexican immigrants, Trump stood unchallenged while he made the case for a border wall right from the Mexican president's own home.

Peña Nieto, a young politician brought up in the old traditions of Mexican politics, was naive and ill-advised to think he could charm and tame Trump. By the time he realized what had just happened, one of the worst bloopers in Mexican diplomatic history was consummated and Trump was already well on his way to Arizona.

Once there, the Republican candidate was back to his old self. Validated by his victory lap in Mexico, Trump started a highly anticipated immigration speech by thanking his new friend down south and by reminding him: "Mexico will pay for the wall, 100 percent," he said.

In Phoenix, Trump doubled down on his harsh immigration stance; there was no softening. The only change is that now Mexicans on both sides of the border are feeling betrayed and humiliated while Trump keeps gaining ground.

Enrique Acevedo is a news anchor on Univision's "Noticiero Univision" and a special correspondent for Fusion.

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