(CNN) – Mexico City, where thousands of people have taken to the streets over the last month protesting Trump White House policies. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly arrive Wednesday with a tall order, for their first neighborly visit: Get the U.S.-Mexico relationship on track.
Mexico has threatened boycotts, President Pena Nieto canceled his trip to the White House last month, amid the tensions and Trump tweets.
Sean Spicer White House Press Secretary said, “We have a very healthy and robust relationship with the Mexican government, and with Mexican officials. And I think they would echo that same sentiment.”
A Mexican official though involved in the bilateral relationship tells CNN their side goes into these talks, with president Trump’s promises. “We will build a wall, Mexico is going to pay for the wall.”
A no go. The official states clearly, Mexico will not pay for a wall. Also, with a new immigration order, that could means hundreds of thousands or even millions of people deported, Mexico says it does have an obligation to accept its own nationals, but not all the immigrants from Central America.
The government official adding, Mexico needs to see the following, in these meetings today: Respect for the relationship that has been built, over decades.
Acknowledgment that Mexico is an enormously important trading partner. $1.5 billion a day in trade crosses the border. And, acknowledgment that the U.S. is lucky to have such a good neighbor in Mexico.
Such is the price, now, of moving forward after all the words from President Trump going back to the campaign trail: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists…” “We have some BAD HOMBRES here, and we’re gonna get ’em out!”
He even used the phrase “tough hombres” on a phone call with the Mexican president this month, offering to send U.S. troops down there to help.
Former Obama Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken says the strain between these neighbors across borders or fences could take far more than this visit to heal: “It helps but it is not enough. It’s turbulent because of all this talk about a wall and it’s especially turbulent because of the various immigration executive orders. That’s a conversation Mexico needs to be in on the take off and not on the landing.”