Report: Priebus asks Trump to tone down rhetoric
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called presidential candidate Donald Trump Wednesday and asked Trump to soften his controversial comments about Mexican illegal immigrants, CBS News has confirmed.
A Republican source familiar with the call told CNN on Wednesday that Priebus expressed his concern to Trump during the call and that they discussed a range of topics.
\"Look, I've gotta tell you, I spent four years trying to make inroads with the Hispanic community ... how we address illegal immigration is very important,\" to winning back Hispanics politically, Priebus said at the end of the call, according to the GOP source.
The Washington Post first reported the phone call.
But Trump on Thursday morning called out \"totally false reporting\" on his call with Priebus, suggesting the RNC chief didn't suggest toning down his immigration remarks.
\"He called me, ten minutes, said I hit a \"nerve\", doing well, end!\" Trump tweeted.
The RNC did not immediately return calls requesting comment on Trump's tweet.
But a source said on Wednesday night that Priebus was returning a message from Trump, who sits second in the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, according to recent national polling. The source said Priebus did not initiate the call to chastise the billionaire reality TV star.
\"They had a respectful discussion across a wide range of issues including illegal immigration,\" Sean Spicer, an RNC spokesman, told CNN.
During Trump's announcement speech he -- now infamously -- talked about Mexican illegal immigrants being \"rapists \"and \"criminals.\"
In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney won only 27% of the Hispanic vote after using harsh terms during the GOP primary like self-deportation.
After that stinging loss, Priebus commissioned a so-called autopsy to analyze how Republicans could re-capture the White House. The subsequent report said Republicans must change their language and approach in the Hispanic community in order to win over voters.
Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager, confirmed the call to CNN.
He said Trump and Priebus spoke, but he could not confirm how long it was or what was discussed.
\"It is not unusual for Mr. Trump to have a conversation with Priebus on a fairly regular basis as the leading candidate for the GOP nomination,\" Lewandowski said.
He added that while he didn't know the contents of the conversation, \"There's no question in my mind that Mr. Trump's fortitude on [immigration] will be unshaken, whether it's a phone call from Reince Priebus or whether it's [a business cutting its ties.]\"