It’s safe to say Donald Trump is not backing down after his comments about undocumented immigrants from Mexico caused a massive firestorm last week.
Trump, a real-estate mogul and Republican presidential candidate, discussed the controversy in a brief phone conversation with Business Insider on Monday. He speculated the strong performance of his 2016 campaign contributed to the fact the statements he made during his June 16 launch made headlines weeks after the announcement event.
“One of the reasons was that I went way up in the polls,” Trump said of the controversy.
A CNN poll released last week showed Trump vaulting into second place in the GOP field behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).
The controversial elements of Trump’s announcement speech include his claim that Mexico is “sending people that have lots of problems” to the US, including “rapists” and people who are “bringing crime” and “bringing drugs.”
Those remarks and Trump’s subsequent defence of them caused several large corporations to sever their ties with him including NBC, which aired his reality series “The Apprentice”; Univision, which aired his Miss USA pageant; and Macy’s, which sold Trump-branded clothing and his fragrance, “Success.” Trump claimed it was his decision to end the relationship with Macy’s.
In his conversation with Business Insider, Trump reread the original portion of his speech that caused the uproar. He also argued one aspect of his position on Mexican immigration has not received enough attention.
“I’m saying the government of Mexico is sending people into our country and no one reports it that way,” Trump explained.
Trump pointed to the case where an undocumented immigrant was arrested for killing a woman in San Francisco, California, last week as proof the Mexican government is deliberately sending criminals to the United States.
“The government of Mexico, look this other guy that killed the young woman in San Francisco, they threw him out. They’re pushing the bad ones in here,” Trump said.
Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, who reportedly admitted to the shooting, had been deported to Mexico five times prior to his arrest.
“It’s such a sad thing and this is a guy that should have stayed in Mexico. He should not have been allowed in our country and because of the weak borders we have him here,” Trump said. “There’s an example of how disgraceful it is. He should have been in Mexico. He shouldn’t have been in our country.”
Trump attributed the weakness of our border security to the current government and vowed the situation would be different if he were in office.
“We have a weak, ineffective government and it’s run by people who are not smart,” said Trump.
Though he’s clearly standing by his comments, Trump admitted the damage to his business relationships caused by the controversy has hurt him “a little bit.” However, Trump, who claims to be worth about $US9 billion, said it has not had a drastic effect on his finances because his company is “very healthy.”
“My bottom line is very large,” Trump explained. “So, it doesn’t have much effect on me, but it’s certainly not easy for someone to run for president.”
NOW WATCH: 11 mindblowing facts about North Korea
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.