Donald Trump is a big time bloviator who seems to have made near hourly headlines since he announced his campaign for presidency three weeks ago. During that announcement, Trump called Mexican immigrants "rapists" and criminals, setting off a firestorm of backlash and a continued blitz of media attention. It all may be a lot to keep tabs on for those not used to tracking The Donald's every move, but here are some of the most recent highlights:
Republicans reluctantly begin to condemn Trump's comments
Despite the GOP's insistence following the 2012 election that it would engage in a direct and earnest appeal to Hispanic voters after an "autopsy" laid bare their party's serious lack of diversity, nearly every other Republican presidential candidate remained mum on Trump's vile description of Mexican immigrants well until after a string of corporations cut ties with the billionaire real-estate mogul.
Jeb Bush, whose wife Columba is Mexican-American, spoke to a Spanish language media outlet while campaigning in Nevada last week and condemned Trump's comments in Spanish, saying, “I do not agree with his words. They do not represent the values of the Republican Party and they do not represent my values."
Trump retweeted an offensive tweet attacking Jeb's wife: "@RobHeilbron: @realDonaldTrump #JebBush has to like the Mexican Illegals because of his wife." After deleting that tweet, Trump continued to attack Bush:
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry finally spoke out against Trump's comments this weekend, saying during a "Fox News Sunday" interview that Trump was wrong because "he painted with a very broad brush, and I think that's the problem," acknowledging that, "yes, we have some challenges," but insisting that "nobody knows that border better than I do." Trump quickly shot back, tweeting that Perry needed new glasses to see all the failures at the Texas-Mexico border:
Trump refuses to back down
But Trump is on a roll, expanding his condemnation of Mexican immigrants from merely "rapists" to also carriers of "infectious disease." Trump wrote in a post yesterday defending his announcement speech that "the worst elements in Mexico are being pushed into the United States by the Mexican government. The Border Patrol knows this. Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border."
And Trump also has his defenders. Fox News host, Eric Bolling, tweeted his support last night with the hashtag "WakeUpAmerica":
And conservative Pat Buchanan lauded Trump as a "man of action" in an essay published on far-right website WorldNetDaily, in which he agreed with Trump's assessment that Mexican immigrants are "rapists", writing, "women and girls crossing Mexico on trains are raped by gangs." Buchanan's defense garnered a tweet of support from Trump, who has more than 3 million followers:
Corporate backlash continues
And Trump's offensive remarks have hit closer to home than he may have expected. The Washington Post spoke with 15 laborers at Trump's latest real estate venture, the renovation of the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C. into a Trump hotel, who illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border and one young man called Trump's comments "ironic." 29 year-old Mexican immigrant Ivan Arellano told the Post, "the majority of us are Hispanics, many who came illegally and we’re all here working very hard to build a better life for our families.” Another worker expressed concern that Trump "might come one day and pretty much tell us to get the heck out of here."
Trump currently polls 7th nationally among all Republican presidential candidates but comes second to former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, in New Hampshire and second to current Wisconsin governor Scott Walker in Iowa, the first two states to vote in the GOP primary.