Donald Trump wants to clear the air on Mexican immigrants. Sort of.
In a three-page statement Monday, Trump barely softened a statement he made about Mexican immigrants last month that has cost him valuable business deals with NASCAR, Macy's, Univision, Serta, and NBC—and even more gravely, alarmed many party leaders within the GOP.
The statement, however, read less like an apology and more like the business executive was digging in. Trump's conclusion? He didn't misspeak during his announcement speech. It's all still the Mexican government's fault.
"I have great respect for Mexico and love their people and their people's great spirit," Trump wrote. "The problem is, however, that their leaders are far smarter, more cunning, and better negotiators than ours."
In recent weeks, Trump has become a ticking time bomb for a Republican Party that has sought to broaden its appeal and distance itself from ultra-conservative positions on immigration and other social issues ahead of the 2016 presidential race. There has been growing concern among establishment leaders and strategists that Trump—who has high name recognition and is polling well—could spoil early debates by forcing candidates to tact to the right. Candidates from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to Sen. Marco Rubio have blasted Trump's remarks. Even former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who once said on the campaign trail that illegal immigrants should deport themselves, criticized Trump.