Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday compared undocumented Mexican immigrants to the "hardcore criminals" Fidel Castro sent to the United States in the early 1980s.
Speaking on conservative radio, the real estate mogul addressed the controversy surrounding his characterization of Mexican immigrants as "rapists" in his presidential announcement speech.
"A lot of people said, 'Would you apologize?' I said, 'Absolutely, I'd apologize, if there was something to apologize for," Trump told radio host Wayne Dupree on Wednesday.
"But what I said is exactly true. You understand that, Wayne. And what I'm saying — and I have great respect for the Mexican people. I love the Mexican people. I have many Mexicans working for me and they're great."
"But that's — we're not talking about — we're talking about a government that's much smarter than our government," Trump continued. "Much sharper, more cunning than our government, and they're sending people."
Trump then went on to compare the immigrants coming into the country from Mexico to Cuban exiles who came to the U.S. as a part of the Mariel boatlift in 1980. Many of those exiles were later found to be inmates released from Cuban prisons and mental health facilities.
"And they're sending — if you remember, years ago, when Castro opened up his jails, his prisons, and he sent them all over to the United States because let the United States have them," Trump stated. "And you know, these were the many hardcore criminals that he sent over. And, you know, that was a long time ago but essentially Mexico is sending over — as an example, this horrible guy that killed a beautiful woman in San Francisco. Mexico doesn't want him. So they send him over. How do you think he got over here five times? They push him out. They're pushing their problems onto the United States, and we don't talk about it because our politicians are stupid."
Trump then took credit for bringing to the public's attention the death of the San Francisco woman killed by an undocumented immigrant.
"I don't even think it's a question of, uh, good politics. I think they're just stupid. I don't think they know what they're doing. So I bring it up and, you're right, it became a big story," said Trump.
"And I'll tell you something: the young woman that was killed — that was a statistic. That wasn't even a story. My wife brought it up to me. She said, you know, she saw this little article about the young woman in San Francisco that was killed, and I did some research and I found out that she was killed by this animal ... who illegally came into the country many times, by the way, and who has a long record of convictions. And I went public with it and now it's the biggest story in the world right now. ... Her life will be very important for a lot of reasons, but one of them would be that she's throwing light and showing light on what's happening in this country."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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