Following Donald Trump’s controversial comments suggesting that Mexican immigrants are “rapists” who bring drugs and crime to America, his fellow 2016 contenders have largely condemned his inflammatory remarks. But a handful of Republican hopefuls have either defended the real estate mogul or, in one case, fled a question on the subject to avoid going on the record.
Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson are standing behind Trump. They have defended (even applauded) the billionaire, in what might be attempts to appeal to conservatives opposed to immigration reform.
During an appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration.” He chalked up Trump’s divisive rhetoric as a “colorful way of speaking.” According to Cruz, the controversy is merely an attempt by the media to get Republicans to criticize each other, but he is “not interested in Republican-on-Republican violence” and therefore “ain’t gonna do it.”
Rick Santorum also came out on #teamtrump. The former senator told CBS’ Face the Nation on Sunday that he did not like Trump’s “verbiage,” but said that Trump “focused on a very important issue for American workers, and particularly legal immigrants in this country.”
Referring to the storm that followed Trump’s remarks, Ben Carson contended that political correctness was overshadowing the debate about immigration reform. “It’s the P.C. police out in force,” Carson told the Daily Caller. “They want to make very clear that this is a topic you’re not supposed to bring up.” Carson, a former neurosurgeon, said that “our illegal immigration problem,” not Trump, should be the focus of attention. His solution? “Secure all our borders—north, south, east and west,” with electronic surveillance devices, drones, or people.
Rand Paul isn’t exactly on #teamtrump, but he has been conspicuously silent on Trump’s remarks. Last week, an Iowa voter posted a video to Twitter that showed her asking Paul for his opinion on Trump’s statement and being met with no reply.
Boo, @drrandpaul Rand away from me when I asked if he agreed w/ Donald Trump’s racist comments re: Mexicans http://t.co/IbWGwq09da #iacaucus
— Anne_H_J (@anne_h_j) July 1, 2015