This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

Donald Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants have made him the Democratic Party's newest favorite punching bag—and nowhere was that more apparent than at the National Council of La Raza's annual conference Monday.

A trio of Democratic presidential candidates—Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley—blasted Trump at the Kansas City gathering of Latino civil rights activists Monday, seeking to make him a symbol of overall Republican attitudes towards immigrants. The GOP businessman and candidate has come under fire for comments during his announcement speech last month about Mexican immigrants to the United States being "rapists" and "bringing drugs."

Speaking Monday afternoon, Clinton said she is ready to take a stand "against the divisive rhetoric that demonizes immigrants and their families.

"It was appalling to hear Donald Trump describe immigrants as drug dealers, rapists, and criminals," she said. "... And when people and businesses everywhere rejected his hateful comments, did he apologize? No. He doubled down. It's shameful, and no one should stand for it."

Clinton continued: "So I have just one word for Mr. Trump: Basta! Enough."

She hit other GOP hopefuls for waiting to denounce Trump's comments, saying Republicans engage in "double-speak" when it comes to their policies and views toward immigrants.

"Why did it take weeks for most of you to speak out? You're normally such a talkative bunch. Suddenly you have nothing to say. The sad truth is that even if some of the other candidates now condemn those words, if you look at many of their policies, it's hard to tell the difference."

Sanders, too, denounced Trump, whose comments have cost him business partnerships and earned him criticism from some in his own party in recent weeks.

"Not Donald Trump, not anyone else will be successful in dividing us based on race or our country of origin," Sanders told the crowd Monday morning, noting that "racism has plagued the United States since its inception."

And speaking to reporters after his speech, Sanders called Trump's comments an "outrage.

"For a major candidate for president of the United States to be throwing slurs at one group of people because of the country of origin that they came from is totally unacceptable, period."

Martin O'Malley said Trump is representative of the broader views of the Republican Party.

"I know that all of us here today share my disgust with the comments Donald Trump recently made," O'Malley said. "The real problem isn't that the Republicans have such a hate-spewing candidate running for president—the problem is that it's so hard to tell him apart from many of the other candidates they have in their field."

He referenced a headline in the Los Angeles Times that said Republicans were "divided" over Trump's remarks. "The best [Republican] leadership can sum up is that they're divided?" he asked. "There's nothing to be divided about."

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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