By Carla Marinucci
September 12, 2016
Just weeks after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stirred controversy with a trip to Mexico, the Democratic leader of California's state senate has announced he’ll lead a state delegation to the Mexican capital to “foster trade and good will” with key leaders including President Enrique Peña Nieto.
The six-day trip to Mexico City marks the California legislature’s second annual policy mission to Mexico, which Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León’s office said is also "intended to bolster policy and economic collaboration" between California and its major trading partner.
The visit by California lawmakers is designed to provide a stark contrast to the recent foray of Trump, who accepted a surprising invite from Peña Nieto that was also extended to Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump's short hop to the Mexican capital — prior to a major, hard-line immigration speech — was met with a tidal wave of criticism from Mexican media, which excoriated Peña Nieto for failing to stand up to Trump and for receiving him at the presidential palace, Los Pinos.
In the wake of the disastrous visit, Mexico's Finance Minister Luis Videgaray, a close adviser to the president, resigned.
The California legislators will attend meetings and workshops with Mexican officials on issues that include “renewable energy and climate change, economic growth and job creation, and ways to better support and uplift immigrant communities,’’ according to de León’s office.
Legislators will meet with Peña Nieto and a host of top leaders, as well as the U.S. mbassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson, de León’s office said. They are also expected to be part of a symposium hosted by the University of California aimed at increasing opportunities for students from both California and Mexico to study abroad.
De León told POLITICO last week that he was outraged with Trump’s “extremist, anti-immigrant” policy address, and vowed that if Trump wins in November, “I will be the first to move urgency legislation to build a wall around California to keep him out.”
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