Reality TV star Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would win the Latino vote in the general election if he wins the Republican nomination, his controversial comments about immigrants notwithstanding.
"I will create jobs and the Latinos will have jobs that they don't have right now. And I will win that vote," Trump said on NBC.
"I have a great relationship with the Mexican people. I have many people working for me — look at the job in Washington — I have many legal immigrants working with me. And many of them come from Mexico. They love me, I love them," he said. "And I'll tell you something, if I get the nomination, I'll win the Latino vote."
His boast comes weeks after he sparked a firestorm of criticism for saying during his campaign launch in June that Mexico is sending rapists and drug dealers to the United States.
Republicans running for the White House have since come out against those remarks.
Undeterred by the backlash to his comments, which has seen a number of businesses sever ties with his brand, Trump said Wednesday that he has "nothing to apologize for." He also maintained that he was simply misquoted.
NBC News reporter Katy Tur pressed Trump to back his claim that the United States border is essentially a lawless hellhole of murder and depravity due to illegal immigration.
"When was the last time you were at the border?" she asked.
"I've been to the border maybe three, four times over the years and I have many people that live around the area," he said, adding that he is now the "most popular person" in parts of Arizona because of his stance.
"When was the last time that you were there?" Tur pressed.
"Three years ago," he said.
She persisted, "If you haven't been there in three years, then how do you know that it's such a problem?" Trump answered by saying it was bad then and it's worse now.
She noted that El Paso, Texas, which is located right on the border, has the lowest murder rate of any major city of its size in the United States.
"Don't try and convince me that there is no crime, that it's all wonderful!" a disbelieving Trump said, adding that the Mexican government is "forcing" immigrants into the United States who later end up in American jails.
Tur later noted that the incarceration rate for Mexican immigrants and illegal immigrants is lower than the rate for U.S.-born citizens.
To this, the reality TV star said it was simply a "wrong statistic" and that she should go "check [her] numbers."
Trump also took a shot at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, predicting that if she wins the White House in 2016, America will see a spike in crime like never before.
Clinton's immigration policy would be to "let everybody come in ... killers, criminals, drug dealers," he said. "Hillary's weak on immigration. I might be divisive on immigration, but she's weak on immigration, which is far worse."
"If you listen to Hillary, she is so weak on immigration, we will have a crime rate like you've never seen," he added. He also said that Clinton was "the worst secretary of state in the history of our nation."
Trump donated to Clinton's campaign efforts in 2008 when she faced off in the Democratic presidential primary against then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Though some in media suggested Wednesday that Trump "steamrolled" Tur, others said that she did a fine job holding up under his infamous bluster. Both sides agreed, however, that the nearly-30-minute interview was "amazing."