Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto speaks at a press conference in Mexico City August 27, 2015. Peña Nieto has been criticized over his response to the escape of Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, including the fact that he finished a game of dominoes before taking any executive actions to recapture the fugitive. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

When Mexico’s most coveted prisoner Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán escaped from a supermax prison, President Enrique Peña Nieto “took the news playing dominoes,” according to an account published on Sunday by La Reforma. El Chapo had an 18-minute head start against his former captors after he dropped through the floor of his prison cell shower into a carefully-engineered tunnel. It's unclear, and unlikely, that the federal response to his escape was slowed by a game of dominoes, but the Mexican press has gone into a frenzy over what at least appears to be another scandal. When Peña Nieto got the call he interrupted the domino game and reportedly returned to his playing partners, who included adviser Luis Videgaray.

“El Chapo escaped. It looks like through a tunnel. They are investigating,” he announced, according to the Reforma account. “Let’s finish the game.”

Peña may have just lost the most important cartel battle of his presidency, but he won the domino game by four points.

If the account is true (the Latin Times couldn’t verify it), the domino moment could be the next in a series of substantial Peña Nieto administration scandals compounded by the symbolism of the President's response. Reports that Luis Videgaray and Peña Nieto’s wife received favorable mortgages spawned the casa blanca (white house) controversy, a substantial allegation over political corruption. When Peña Nieto’s appointed an investigator into the scandal who was both a current employee and a long-time friend of Videgaray, it didn’t help the administration’s image of impunity, and stained the results (surprise; no corruption was found). After 43 students were killed, reportedly by local police, he waited 11 days to address the country and 33 days to meet with the families.

Remember left-wing documentarian Michael Moore’s scathing attack on U.S. president George Bush for hanging out and continuing to read children’s books to a classroom following first reports of the largest act of war on U.S. soil? For Peña Nieto, this is a George Bush moment (acknowledging or course that 9/11 was far more significant that El Chapo’s escape). It was a major event in Mexican history that required a quick mobilization of a nation-wide response. Criticisms of both presidents’ inaction might be more style than substance. What are presidents supposed to do when they don’t yet have actionable intelligence? But don’t expect that to get mentioned in Mexico any time soon. Ten years passed between the time Michael Moore publicized the footage of Bush and Slate popularized a rebuttal found on Quora .

“I'm no fan of George W. Bush, but having worked for a member of Congress and other elected officials and having supported them at public events, I always thought it was a cheap shot to criticize Bush’s immediate response to the news of the Sept. 11 attacks,” wrote Adam Nyhan. “There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of President Bush, as there are of President Obama and most other elected officials. But this one missed the mark.”

The domino game might miss the mark -- there are so many other more substantial mistakes that Peña Nieto has made -- but don’t be surprised if Mexicans take this latest revelation to vent anger against an increasingly reviled administration.

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