Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump clarified his campaign launch speech in which he accused Mexican immigrants of being rapists, saying Monday that he blamed the Mexican government, not the "fabulous" Mexican people, for sending criminals across the border.
In a three-page statement, Trump offered no evidence to bolster his claim. He pointed to a recent killing in San Francisco in which a man in the country illegally is accused of shooting a woman as evidence that "the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government."
Trump's initial remarks last month led several corporations to cut ties with the real estate and entertainment mogul, while his fellow Republicans were forced to comment on whether they agreed with his assessment. Trump is a leading candidate for the GOP nomination in some national polls.
The controversy was beginning to subside Monday when Trump's campaign circulated the new statement. The document reads like dictation from the candidate, including several provocative and boastful assertions.
"Tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border. The United States has become a dumping ground for Mexico and, in fact, for many other parts of the world," the statement said. "On the other hand, many fabulous people come in from Mexico and our country is better for it. But these people are here legally, and are severely hurt by those coming in illegally. I am proud to say that I know many hard-working Mexicans — many of them are working for and with me …and, just like our country, my organization is better for it."
"I have great respect for Mexico and love their people and their peoples' great spirit. The problem is, however, that their leaders are far smarter, more cunning, and better negotiators than ours. To the citizens of the United States, who I will represent far better than anyone else as president, the Mexican government is not our friend … and why should they be when the relationship is totally one-sided in their favor on both illegal immigration and trade," he added.
As he declared his bid for the presidency, Trump claimed he had spoken to border guards about "what we're getting."
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you," he said to the audience in June. "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.
"It's coming from more than Mexico," he added. "It's coming from all over South and Latin America, and it's coming probably — probably — from the Middle East."
The statement released Monday cited those original comments but added a parenthetical explanation to the first clause: "(meaning the Mexican government)."
"What can be simpler or more accurately stated?" Trump's statement said.
Univision, Macy's, NASCAR and NBC cut ties with Trump in recent weeks, calling the comments offensive and discriminatory. On Monday, the candidate said the companies were bowing to political correctness. Univision, he said, "is being dictated to by the Mexican government."