The man who declared some Mexican immigrants to be criminals and “rapists” three weeks ago has a message for those in the Latino community offended by his remarks: “There’s nothing to apologize for.”
“I’ll win the Latino vote because I’ll create jobs. I’ll create jobs and the Latinos will have jobs they didn’t have, I’ll do better on that vote than anybody, I will win that vote,” the Republican candidate and real estate mogul told NBC News’ Katy Tur on Wednesday, as he defended his relationship with Mexicans in the wake of international outrage over his repeated and offensive remarks about undocumented immigrants.
Trump also resurrected claims that the president is foreign-born, saying “fine, if you believe that” when asked about the president’s released, long-form birth certificate, before diverting back to talking points.
Trump’s return to “birtherism” – and of course his repeated condemnation of undocumented immigrants – signals that the real estate mogul turned presidential candidate isn’t likely to shy from the bombastic style that’s helped him dominate headlines in recent weeks and fueled his rising poll numbers.
In a feisty interview, Trump both defended his relationship with the Latino community (“They love me!” he said.) and doubled down on his remarks that Mexico is harming the U.S. at the border.
“Don’t try and convince me that there’s no crime, that it’s wonderful,” Trump said. “Mexico doesn’t want these people they’re forcing them into our country and we’re taking them and putting them in our jails and our hospitals and it’s a disgrace.”
Trump has lost significant business over his remarks on immigration: Macy’s, NBC News, and Univision have all severed their business ties with the real estate mogul because of his remarks, and many other businesses have backed away from doing business with him.
“Yeah, I’m losing some contracts, who cares, people – politically they’re weak and they want to be politically correct,” he said. “Compared to what I have, it doesn’t matter … I would still do this.”
Trump has continued to be a major media presence, however, giving interviews to NBC and CNN and making nearly a dozen appearances on Fox News since June. Trump also met privately with Fox News chief Roger Ailes, a longtime friend, eight days after announcing his presidential bid, Politico reported Wednesday. The scandal over his comments on immigration exploded the next day.
On Wednesday, Trump rejected assertions that he’s a divisive voice within the Republican Party, arguing that he’s single-handedly changed the national debate on immigration for the better.
“You wouldn’t be hearing about the word immigration if it weren’t for Donald Trump,” Trump said. “I brought the whole subject up!”
Trump also slammed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton as “the worst Secretary of State in the history of the U.S.”
“Hillary was the worst, in the history of the U.S. there’s never been a Secretary as bad as Hillary. The world blew up around us, we lost everything including all relationships. There wasn’t one good thing that came out of that administration or her being Secretary of State.”