- The Washington Times
Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would “win the Latino vote” if nominated, despite being at odds with the community over negative comments he made about Mexico and illegal immigration.

“I have [a] great relationship with the Mexican people. I have many people working for me — you can look at the job in Washington — I have many legal immigrants working with me. Many of them come from Mexico. They love me, I love them,” Mr. Trump told NBC News Wednesday.

“And I’ll tell you something — if I get the nomination, I’ll win the Latino vote. I will win it,” he said. “Because I’m going to create jobs. Hillary Clinton is not going to be able to create jobs, I will tell you right now. Neither is Jeb Bush going to be able to create jobs.

“I will create jobs, and the Latinos will have jobs that they don’t have right now, and I will win that vote,” he said.

Mr. Trump said Mrs. Clinton’s immigration policy would be to “let everybody come in … killers, criminals, drug dealers.”

“If you listen to Hillary, she is so weak on immigration, we will have a crime rate like you’ve never seen,” he added.

Both Mrs. Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner, and Mr. Bush, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, have criticized Mr. Trump’s earlier comments on Mexican immigrants, and some corporations, including NBC, have put some distance between themselves and the businessman in response.

In his presidential announcement speech last month, he said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best … 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. And some, I assume, are good people.”

“There’s nothing to apologize for,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday. “There’s nothing to apologize for. Read my statement. My statement is referring to Mexico and they’re pushing a lot of bad people into our country and we’re taking care of a lot of criminals that shouldn’t be in our country.”

Mr. Trump said that it wasn’t until a week later that people started criticizing that one segment of his speech.

“And I’m referring to Mexico — I have great respect for the country of Mexico; I love the Mexican people and their spirit,” he said. “But the country of Mexico is killing us. The country of Mexico is taking our jobs, they’re killing us at the border — they’re taking advantage of the fact that we are stupid negotiators.”

“We have very stupid people in our country negotiating for us, and we have leaders that don’t know what they’re doing,” he continued. “So I respect that — I’m not angry at Mexico. I’m angry at our leadership for not putting our right people to negotiate this.”

Mr. Trump said there are anywhere between 11 million and 31 million illegal immigrants in the country.

“We don’t even know, OK? We don’t even know,” he said. “Nobody’s able to tell me the number. It used to be 11 [million]; now they think it’s 31 million.

“But you have to create a strong border, and if I didn’t bring this up, we wouldn’t even be talking” about it, he said.

He said he would get Mexico to pay for a wall on the border.

“Mexico’s making a fortune off the United States — I would get them to pay for the wall,” he said. “Believe me, they will pay for the wall.”

Asked how high the wall would be, Mr. Trump said: “I will make that wall impenetrable, OK? Impenetrable. You don’t have to worry about how high it’ll be. And Mexico will pay for that wall.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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