Mexican president to visit Obama after GOP convention

Eric Martin
Bloomberg

Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto will visit President Barack Obama at the White House Friday, July 22, the day after the Republican convention where Donald Trump is expected to become the party’s nominee, highlighting cooperation between the two nations amid a wave of anti-immigrant and anti-NAFTA campaign rhetoric.

In an interview Thursday in Mexico City, Paulo Carreno, Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for North American, said Obama and Peña Nieto will discuss topics including economic competitiveness, security, the fight against organized crime and immigration.

While Carreno said the timing of the visit is coincidental, Trump launched his campaign a year ago by pledging to make Mexico build a wall on the U.S. border to keep out immigrants, who he called murderers and rapists. Trump has also pledged to end or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Obama said at the conclusion of a meeting with Pena Nieto in Ottawa last month that he had invited the Mexican leader to visit him one last time before he leaves office next year.

"The reality is that these are two countries that are working together, that have an intense commercial, political and social relationship," Carreno said. "There’s a big difference between campaign rhetoric and reality."

The White House confirmed the meeting in an emailed statement, saying it will build upon the progress made in Ottawa last month and deepen the partnership between the nations.