— CNN (@CNN) September 1, 2016
On Wednesday, Donald Trump paid a surprise visit to Mexico and met with Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto. Trump told the media that the two discussed the fabled Wall but never discussed who would pony up the costs. Then Nieto was all … nope. He issued a correction and said he definitely told Trump that Mexico would not pay for it. By that time, Trump was likely on his private jet again and heading to his Arizona rally where he was projected to give a yuuuge immigration speech.
The issue has been one of Trump’s main selling points. For over a year, he proposed a mass deportation but has since hedged and decided he might be nice and work with the “good ones.” Yet the real estate mogul described Mexicans as drug dealers and rapists for the entirety of his campaign, so it’s hard to buy his change of heart. Going into this speech, there was also the question of whether he’d address Nieto’s correction or just let it slide.
Tonight, Trump didn’t directly address Nieto’s figurative “nope,” and there was no “softening,” but he listed ten major points. The first one? “We will build a Great Wall along the Southern border.” He followed up with “and Mexico will pay for the wall, 100%.” Oh really? “They don’t know it yet, but they’re gonna pay for it.” Trump then described his wall as “beautiful, impenetrable,” and flanked by surveillance towers. And that was only the beginning of this long-winded opus, which was more like a scripted rant than a policy speech.