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Donald Trump: Mexican statements were meant to be humane, not mean

LISTEN: Donald Trump

PHOENIX — International businessman Donald Trump said his controversial statements about illegal immigrants in the United States were in the interest of being humane, not discriminatory.

“I’m not mean, I want to be humane,” he told KTAR News’ Mac & Gaydos on Thursday afternoon.

Trump announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in June with a speech that included a remark that portrayed immigrants from Mexico as “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

The mogul, who is scheduled to speak in the Phoenix area on Saturday, said the media has slightly manipulated the message by selecting soundbites.

“You have to play the whole message and not deceive your audience,” he said.

Trump stood by his opinion, saying Mexico is sending in prisoners and others it doesn’t want to take care of.

“The country is sending in lots of bad people,” he said. “They’re sending in prisoners, they’re sending people they don’t want to take care of, they’re sending in criminals, they’re sending in drug folks.”

Trump said he has a lot of respect for Mexico and he has “fantastic people” from the country who work for him.

Trump said the Republican Party has not told him to tone down his rhetoric, despite calls for him to do so.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.