Donald Trump, left, and Rick Perry have clashed over border security. (Photos: Brendan McDermid/Reuters,Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Rick Perry has joined the chorus of current and former Republican presidential candidates condemning Donald Trump over comments the real estate mogul made about Mexican immigrants.
“Donald Trump does not represent the Republican Party,” the former Texas governor said on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday. “I was offended by his remarks.”
During a speech last month launching his campaign, Trump vowed to build a wall between Mexico and the United States to keep Mexican criminals and “rapists” from crossing the border.
“They are bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they are rapists,” Trump said. “And some are good people.”
“Hispanics in America and Hispanics in Texas, from the Alamo to Afghanistan, have been extraordinary people, citizens of our country and of our state,” Perry said. “To paint with that broad a brush that Donald Trump did … he’s going to have to defend those remarks. I never will. And I will stand up and say that those are offensive, which they were.”
On Saturday, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush blasted Trump, too.
“His views are way out of the mainstream of what Republicans think,” Bush told reporters in New Hampshire. “No one suggests that we shouldn’t control our borders — everybody has a belief that we should control our borders. But to make these extraordinarily ugly kinds of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party. Trump is wrong on this.”
Trump waves as he arrives at a house party in Bedford, N.H., last month. (Photo: Jim Cole/AP)
Bush, whose wife is from Mexico, said Trump is just trying to drum up publicity for his fledgling candidacy.
“He’s not a stupid guy,” Bush said. “Don’t think he thinks every Mexican crossing the border is a rapist. He’s doing this to inflame and incite and to draw attention, which seems to be his organizing principle of his campaign.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also condemned Trump’s remarks.
“Trump’s comments are not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive,” Rubio said. “Our next president needs to be someone who brings Americans together — not someone who continues to divide. Our broken immigration system is something that needs to be solved, and comments like this move us further from — not closer to — a solution. We need leaders who offer serious solutions to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system.”
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said Trump made “a severe error” by alienating Latino voters.
Trump, of course, is refusing to back down.
“Jeb Bush once again proves that he is out of touch with the American people,” he said in a statement. “[Bush] doesn’t understand anything about the border or border security. In fact, Jeb believes illegal immigrants who break our laws when they cross our border come ‘out of love.’”
“It seems like I’m sort of the whipping post because I bring it up,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News. “The crime is raging. It’s violent, and people don’t want to even talk about it. If you talk about it, you are a racist. I don’t understand it.”
Perry said it’s Trump who doesn’t understand.
“I don’t think he understands the challenge, obviously,” Perry said. “We’ve been there for 14 years. The governor of that state, with a 1,200 mile border. When it became abundantly clear that the president wasn’t going to deal with this issue, we acted last summer. We surged our law enforcement and our National Guard there. We had a 74 percent decrease of apprehensions in that region of the border where the real challenges were. My bet is that Mr. Trump doesn’t know that.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, though, said he supports Trump’s take on border security.
“I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration,” Cruz said in an interview that aired on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. “The Washington cartel doesn’t want to address that.”