WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says he's confident he could win substantial Hispanic votes if he's the party's nominee.
Brushing aside the controversy over labeling Mexican immigrants as "rapids" and "criminals," Trump argues "the Hispanics love me."
He tells MSNBC: "I employ thousands of Hispanics."
Trump also says he's not worried about any lack of support in the Latino community and argues he hasn't been hurt politically by his calls for clamping down on illegal immigration.
Trump has refused to soften his stand on immigration, even after a plea by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (ryns PREE'-bus) that he tone down his remarks.
The GOP fared very poorly with the Hispanic community in the 2012 presidential election as incumbent President Barack Obama garnered over 70 percent of the vote.