Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump met with about two dozen Latino supporters in Nevada to discuss strategies for boosting Hispanic turnout in the swing state, part of his effort to make the case that his economic policies would be better for small minority-owned businesses than those of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
“People don’t know how well we’re doing with the Hispanics, the Latinos,” Trump said Friday at his hotel just off the Vegas Strip. “We’re doing really well.”
Trump has suggested that minorities have been left behind by Democratic economic policies and hammered the nation’s sluggish GDP growth as “a catastrophe,” saying that the United States has “some very, very serious problems and it’s going to get worse with this group of people” in charge.
But Trump continued to send mixed signals about a key issue for many Latinos: immigration. While he has not wavered on his desire to build an impenetrable wall along the border with Mexico, he exhibited indecisiveness in recent days about his plan to deport 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
The New York businessman has vacillated by saying there would be “a softening” of existing immigration laws and later suggesting for the first time that if he did authorize deportations, many of those immigrants would be allowed to return quickly to the United States. Then, in an interview Friday on Fox News, he seemed to resume a more hard-line position.
“My stance is very strong. It’s gonna remain very strong,” he said. “There will be no amnesty. There’s no legalization.”
Aides have said he would announce his immigration policy in a speech in the coming days, but his campaign has yet to set a date. And after saying they would be allowed to attend a fundraiser Friday night in Lake Tahoe, aides barred reporters at the last minute.
Clinton, meanwhile, kept up her verbal assault on Trump’s campaign, asserting in an MSNBC interview Friday that it is built on “prejudice and paranoia” and caters to a radical fringe of the Republican Party.
Clinton is looking to counter Trump’s attempts to win over moderate voters who have been unsettled by some of his remarks and policy proposals. She is also targeting moderate voters — especially Republicans — by depicting Trump and his supporters as extremists, and casting the race as “not a normal choice between a Republican and a Democrat.”
In turn, Trump is trying to paint Clinton as the racist. He released an online video that includes footage of the former first lady referring to some young criminals as “super predators” in the 1990s. The video also shows Clinton’s former Democratic rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, denouncing the phrase as “a racist term.” Clinton has since apologized.
But Trump was saddled with another inflammatory revelation Friday when court papers surfaced showing that an ex-wife of Trump’s new campaign CEO, Stephen Bannon, said Bannon made anti-Semitic remarks when the two battled over sending their daughters to private school nearly a decade ago. That revelation came a day after reports emerged that domestic violence charges were filed 20 years ago against Bannon following an altercation with his then-wife, Mary Louise Piccard.
Clinton also vigorously defended her family’s foundation and declared she’s confident there will be no further major accusations involving the foundation, her emails or anything else that could undermine her chances of defeating Trump in November.
Clinton said the private Clinton Foundation’s charitable programs would continue if she’s elected, even as Trump and other critics argue they would present a conflict of interest. In her phone interview with MSNBC, she said she was certain there are no emails or Clinton Foundation ties to foreign entities that would affect her presidential prospects.
The State Department now says it doesn’t expect to release all the detailed daily schedules showing meetings by Clinton covering her time as secretary of state before Election Day.
The agency told The Associated Press it expects to release the last of the files around Dec. 30. The AP’s lawyers asked the department late Friday to hasten its efforts and provide all of her minute-by-minute schedules by Oct. 15. The department did not immediately respond.
Lerer reported from Hartford, Connecticut. Associated Press writers Ken Thomas in New York and Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report
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