GOP presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE said Saturday he is receiving unfair criticism for his talk on illegal immigration and related violent crime.
Trump suggested he is the only 2016 White House hopeful speaking out on the uncomfortable topic.
“Nobody wants to talk about it,” Trump said on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends” of the link between violence and illegal immigration.
“It seems like I’m sort of the whipping post because I bring it up, and I don’t understand it,” he said of backlash against his comments.
“Whether you’re liberal, whether you’re conservative, whether you’re Republican, Democrat, why wouldn’t you talk about a problem?” he added. “There’s tremendous crime, and illegal immigration is just incredible.”
Trump drew a connection between America’s unsecured borders and the potential for more frequent terrorism.
“You talk about terrorism and terrorists too, they’re going to come in from the Southern border,” he said. “It’s the easiest thing, you just walk right in.”
“You would think no matter where you are in terms of party affiliation, you think you’d want to do something about it,” he added. “The crime is raging.”
“People don’t even want to talk about it, and if you talk about it, you’re a racist. I don’t understand it.”
Trump sparked outrage during his formal campaign launch two weeks ago by sharply criticizing Hispanic immigrants and Mexico.
“They’re sending people who have a lot of problems,” he said at Trump Tower in New York City on June 16.
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” he added. “And some, I assume, are good people.”
Trump on Saturday said numerous criminal incidents involving illegal immigrants prove his point.
He cited the fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle by an undocumented immigrant in San Francisco earlier this week as an example.
“I think it’s so sad – an incredible young woman shot right in front of her father,” Trump said of Steinle’s death on Wednesday evening.
“This is something that should never have taken place,” he said. “We have many cases like this.”
“The crime is rampant,” Trump added. “It isn’t just a Mexico issue.”
Steinle, 32, died after being shot Wednesday evening while strolling San Francisco’s Embarcadero with her father.
Francisco Sanchez, the alleged shooter, was released from jail four months ago instead of being transferred into federal immigration officials’ custody.
He is an undocumented immigrant who has been deported to Mexico five times.
Sanchez also has seven prior felony convictions, four of which are for drug charges.