- President Donald Trump on Thursday referred to his infamous presidential campaign announcement, when he called Mexicans “rapists.”
- Trump suggested that women traveling through central America en route to the United States are “raped at levels that nobody’s ever seen.”
- The comments come amid a flurry of media attention about a “caravan” of immigrants traveling through Mexico.
- There is no evidence to suggest that any of the caravan travelers have reported being raped on their journey.
President Donald Trump on Thursday defended what was perhaps his most notorious remark on the campaign trail about Mexicans, which was widely perceived as racist and helped solidify his reputation as an immigration hardliner.
In his infamous campaign announcement in June 2015, then-candidate Trump said, “when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best.”
“They’re sending people that have a lot of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” he added.
Trump appeared to refer to those comments on Thursday during a televised discussion on tax reform that veered into immigration.
“Remember my opening remarks at Trump tower when I opened. Everyone said, ‘Oh, he’s so tough.’ I used the word ‘rape,'” Trump said.
He continued: “And yes, it came out where this journey coming up — women are raped at levels that nobody’s ever seen before. They don’t want to mention that. So we have to change our laws. And the Democrats, what they’re doing is just insanity — nobody understands what’s going on.”
Trump appeared to be referring to the dangerous journey migrants often take through Central America, en route to the US-Mexico border. A recent Doctors Without Borders report found that 70% of those entering Mexico reported experiencing violence during their trek, and nearly one-third of women said they were sexually abused.
Trump’s comments come amid a flurry of media attention on a group of central American migrants currently traveling through Mexico as part of a “caravan.”
The group is comprised largely of women and children from Honduras who intend to seek asylum in Mexico or the US, though there is no evidence to suggest that any of the caravan travelers themselves have reported being raped on their journey.
Watch a clip of Trump’s comments below:
Discussing immigration laws, Pres. Trump references controversial remarks from campaign launch.
“I used the word rape—and yesterday it came out where this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody’s ever seen before. They don’t want to mention that.” pic.twitter.com/RvQ162whws
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) April 5, 2018