Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to sue Univision for cutting ties with the billionaire’s business dealings and reneging on a contract agreement to air the Miss USA pageant.
Earlier Thursday, Univision, the largest Spanish-language TV network in the country, dropped its partnership with the Miss Universe Organization over “insulting remarks” that Trump made during his GOP presidential campaign announcement.
“At Univision we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country,” the company said in a statement. ”We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12th or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization.”
Trump confirmed on Thursday that he planned to take legal action against Univsion and had a signed, multi-million dollar contract from the company. Trump has faced considerable backlash for calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and drug dealers. But in an interview with Fox News Thursday, “The Donald” doubled down.
“They’re criminals in many cases, why do I need to change my statement?” Trump said. “Of course I’m standing by my statement, everyone knows that it’s true.”
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In a series of tweets earlier in the morning, Trump also suggested that the Mexican government “forced” Univision out of the partnership because of Mexican trade deals with the U.S.
Trump’s presidential campaign doubled down on his assertions, attributing the businessman with “exposing to the public, and the world, the significant damage that is being done at the southern border, and the terrible and costly trad deals that the United States is incompetently making with Mexico.”
“Mexican leadership has been doing serious damage to the United States by out-negotiating our representatives and political leaders,” Trump said in the statement. “They are taking our jobs, taking our money and at the same time hurting us at the border with illegals from all over the world freely flowing into our country.”
The dumped contract deal comes after Trump made a series of incendiary remarks while unveiling his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on June 17. He said then that he would build a “great wall” to block out immigrants from entering the U.S.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Those inflammatory remarks, as well as others made during his announcement, alienated people from Mexico to the Middle East to China. But when asked to address the backlash to his announcement speech, the real estate mogul and billionaire brushed it off.
“I do great with Latino voters,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “I employ so many Latinos. I have so many people working for me. I’m a job creator. I create jobs. I’m a master job creator. No politician knows how to create jobs. They’re all talk, they’re no action. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
And the kicker: “And you know, the Latinos love Trump and I love them.”
Thirteen Republicans have now entered the 2016 presidential race, creating a competitive jostle for a spot on upcoming televised debates, which have a cap on the number of participants. Despite the crowded field, there are signs that Trump could position himself to make the cut.
A new Fox News poll out this week shows Trump closed on the heels of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who came out with 15% support among primary voters. Trump edges into the Republican top tier with 11% (though only 29% of those polled viewed him as a serious candidate).