Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addressed his controversial comments on immigration during a speech to thousands of supporters in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday. He told attendees that they “have to take back the heart of our country.”
“I love the Mexican people … I respect Mexico … but the problem we have is that their leaders are much sharper, smarter and more cunning than our leaders, and they’re killing us at the border,” Trump told the crowd. “They’re taking our jobs. They’re taking our manufacturing jobs. They’re taking our money. They’re killing us.”
Trump’s stance on immigration earned him applause from the crowd of 4,200 at the Phoenix convention center, with an attendee at one point shouting, “Build a wall!," according to the Washington Post.
“They flow in like water, and I love legal immigration. I love it,” Trump said. “We should make it easier, and faster.”
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The billionaire businessman also used the speech to compare himself to fellow moguls Martha Stewart and Richard Branson, and slammed the various brands and companies that cut ties with him following his controversial immigration comments.
“I’m, like, a really smart person,” he said. “I know the system better than anybody.
"I’m a donor. Of course I give to Democrats, I want to get things done … They all loved me. They don’t love me so much anymore.”
Trump concluded his speech by calling for action and vowing to “make America great again.”
“He just seems to have things clear in his head,” supporter Hazel Powell told Politico. “I just hope he keeps it up because I’m happy now. He’s done a number on me and many other people, emotionally.”
“He says what he means like I do. He’s not wishy-washy,” Phoenix resident Joan Rosicki added. “He’s for the people. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. He also is for the Spanish people. I am, too. We just don’t like the lawlessness.”
Trump caused a public uproar in June after he called Mexican immigrants "killers and rapists," CNN reported at the time. In the wake of these comments, both Macy's and NBC have cut ties with the business mogul.
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