Republican chiefs tell Trump to 'tone it down' on Mexicans
The head of the Republican Party has asked Donald Trump to "tone it down" amid fears that the billionaire's claim that many Mexican immigrants are rapists will damage the party's hopes of taking back the White House.
Reince Preibus, the chair of the Republican National Committee, called Mr Trump this week and cautioned him that his outbursts were enraging Hispanic voters and could hurt the party's other candidates, said the 'Washington Post'. The business mogul seems to have largely ignored the message and continued to insist in interviews that illegal immigrants "are causing tremendous problems in terms of crime, in terms of murder, in terms of rape".
He also denied Mr Preibus asked him to rein in his rhetoric. "He called me, 10 minutes, said I hit a 'nerve', doing well, end!" he said on Twitter.
While Mr Trump's immigration comments are not hurting him in the polls - some surveys put him second only to Jeb Bush - they have alienated many of his business partners who no longer wish to be associated with him.
The latest to cut ties is José Andrés, a Spanish-born celebrity chef who has backed out of an agreement to open a restaurant in Mr Trump's new hotel down the street from the White House.
"Donald Trump's recent statements disparaging immigrants make it impossible for my company and I to move forward," Mr Andrés said. The Trump business empire responded to the decision the same way it has to other business partners: with threats of a lawsuit.
Mr Trump is already suing Univision, the Spanish-language television network, after it dropped its coverage of his Miss Universe beauty pageant. He has also threatened to sue NBC for the same reason.
While the 69-year-old has angered many fellow Republicans with his outbursts, he seems to be enjoying his time in the spotlight and is regularly summoning US television networks to his Trump Tower headquarters in New York for interviews.
In an interview with NBC, he insisted he has "a great relationship with the Mexican people".
"They love me, I love them," Mr Trump said, before insisting that Latinos would vote for him despite his comments. "I'll tell you something, if I get the nomination, I'll win the Latino vote," he said. There are around 11 million illegal immigrants in the US and they pose a policy quandary for both Democrats and Republicans.
They are too many to be deported and some have been in the US for decades, working in jobs, paying taxes and raising American children.
Many legal Latino immigrants have family members who are in the US illegally and would use their votes to punish candidates who demonise their community.
Hillary Clinton (inset below) and most Democrats support a "pathway to citizenship" under which illegal immigrants could come out of the shadows and begin a process to become US citizens.
Republicans are divided on the question of citizenship and most emphasise a massive deployment of resources to stop new immigrants coming across the 2,000-mile US-Mexico border.
Mr Trump's own solution is to build a wall, for which he says he would force the Mexican government to pay, but he has not said what he would do with people already in the US.
"I would do something very, very strong," he said. "We have to build a wall, a real wall. Not a wall that people walk through."
While he is determined to keep illegal immigrants out of the US, he appears to have failed to keep them out of his own construction sites.
Several workers building Mr Trump's new hotel told the 'Washington Post' they were in the country illegally. He also settled a lawsuit in 1999 which accused him of hiring undocumented Polish workers to help build his headquarters.
The workers claimed they were paid $5 an hour and forced to work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. (© Daily Telegraph London)