A lot of people have had bad ideas in 2016. From the producers of that Ben-Hur reboot to your co-worker with the faux-hawk, we’ve all yielded to misguided impulses at some point in the past eight months.
But it’s possible that the very worst idea of 2016 belongs to Mexican finance minister Luis Videgaray. According to multiple local media reports, it was Videgaray who advised President Enrique Peña Nieto to have Donald Trump over for a visit.
Which is to say, it was Videgaray who decided that the deeply unpopular Peña Nieto could improve his public image by appearing with the Mexican people’s least-favorite American since James K. Polk — a presidential candidate who has accused the Mexican government of shipping rapists across its northern border, threatened to freeze all money transfers from the United States to Mexico until the nation’s taxpayers cough up a multi-billion-dollar ransom, and described the country as “an enemy” that America must “FIGHT!”
Last week, Trump took Mexico up on its offer and sleepwalked through an uncharacteristically banal press appearance with Peña Nieto. But the mere sight of the Mexican leader shaking hands with the demagogue set stomachs churning throughout Mexico (and also Air Force One).
And then, minutes after returning to American soil, Trump awoke from his brief spell of diplomatic sedation, to reassure the world that Peña Nieto’s government would pay for his monument to American xenophobia, “100 percent.”
“They don’t know it yet, but they’re going to pay for it,” the Republican nominee explained.
The Mexican president — who had praised many of Trump’s broad policy goals hours earlier — was forced to assure his Twitter followers that they would not be funding Trump’s wall. His electorate was not amused.
And now his finance minister — whom many considered the “brains” behind the administration — is unemployed.
If only Videgaray had paid more attention to the Republican nominee’s poetry.