Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told NBC News Foreign Correspondent Katy Tur “if I didn’t bring it up, you wouldn’t even be talking about immigration right now” during an interview broadcast on Wednesday’s “MSNBC Live.”
Trump was asked about a Washington Post story about his DC hotel’s workers, some of whom, “are not legally here” in Tur’s words, Trump countered, “it really doesn’t say that. In fact, the writer was very surprised that was — they weren’t able to find anybody. We have a very strong system. I have a contractor that’s one of the biggest in the nation, they’re doing it. So far, they’re doing a very good job. They have a very strong verification system. And the whole story was about, you know, they thought they were going to find people and they weren’t able to find people.” Tur countered, “No, they did find some people who said that they were undocumented.”
Trump responded, “Well, they certainly didn’t write them down and write their names. We’re very strong on that. And you know, with 11 to 31 million illegal immigrants in the country, it’s pretty hard to be in a position where you can’t actually find anybody. That’s going to be a fantastic job. That was sitting there for years, like 30 years empty, vacant, a disastrous situation. I took it over, we’re going to have one of the great hotels of the world. we’re very proud of it. We’re also very proud of the building and the building practices.”
The discussion then turned to Trump’s comments on Mexican immigrants, he said, “I was just totally misquoted. In fact, I could read — I could give you a copy of the speech, I could read it to you. I was so misquoted that it’s incredible. I’m talking about the Mexican government forces many bad people into our country, because they’re smart. They’re smarter than our leaders, and their negotiators are far better than what we have, like to a degree that you wouldn’t believe. They’re forcing people into our country. This guy that killed the wonderful young woman from San Francisco, he went back to Mexico, they forced him out. They force people into our country and they are drug dealers, and they are criminals of all kind. We are taking mexico’s problems. Mexico is beating us on trade, and they’re beating us at the border. But Mexico doesn’t want to take these people, so what do they do? They send them to our stupid politicians, and we have sanctuary cities and we have all of this nonsense. I’ve been saying this for a long time, Katy, and it’s a disgrace. And, frankly, if I didn’t bring it up, you wouldn’t even be talking about immigration right now.”
He later said of the US border, “It’s worse now than it’s ever been. We don’t even have a border, people are just flowing through like water, there is no border right now.”
Tur then said, the murder rate in El Paso, Texas, which is right on the border, is the lowest murder rate for any of the big cities in the country.” Trump responded, “don’t try and convince me that there’s no crime, that it’s wonderful. The people that are being forced in — and these aren’t just Mexican people. The people that are being forced — Mexico doesn’t want people, they’re forcing them into our country, and we’re taking them and we’re putting them in our jails and our hospitals and we’re paying them money through different sources. It’s a disgrace. Don’t tell me about safety. Are you trying to justify safety on the border? I don’t think so.”
Tur then argued, “We have a lower incarceration rate for Mexican immigrants and illegal immigrants than we do for any US-born citizen,” which Trump countered was “a wrong statistic.” Tur said the number came from Pew Research, to which Trump maintained the number was inaccurate.
Later he said there was “nothing to apologize for” in his comments regarding Mexican immigration.
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