Real estate mogul Donald Trump did little to allay fears that he might not be as hardline on immigration as he portrays himself to be.
A report was leaked to Buzzfeed on Monday that in an off-the-record meeting between Trump and The New York Times, Trump was more than willing to be "flexible" on his immigration views. Trump didn't exactly deny the report when pressed on it on Fox News.
"We had a board meeting. It was off the record. All of a sudden they leak it, it's all over the place," Trump said. "Everything -- by the way, it is negotiable. Things are negotiable, I'll be honest with you, you know I make the wall two feet shorter or something. I mean everything is negotiable."
Trump clarified that building a wall is not negotiable, but deporting all of the illegal aliens in the country is.
"I've always said we have some good people over here," Trump said. "They are going to go out. But we will work out some system that is fair, but we either have a country or we don't."
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have called on Trump to ask the Times to release the transcript. Interestingly, The Washington Examiner's Byron York asked Trump back in January if his immigration stances were nothing more than starting points.
"I'd like to know just how flexible the guy running as a 'deal-maker,' the guy who says 'you have to be a little bit establishment,' is on his signature issue."
Ace of Spades
"They are very strong positions," Trump responded. "It doesn't mean you're not going to negotiate a little bit, but I guess there will always be some negotiation. But they are very strong positions, and I would adhere to those positions very strongly. That doesn't mean that at some point we won't talk a little bit about some negotiation. Who wouldn't do that?"
Still, it would clear things up if Trump asked the Times to release the transcript, as GOP primary voters should know whether or not a candidate truly believes what he says. After all, Trump has admitted that he simply announces he'll build a wall to reinvigorate a bored crowd.
As blogger of Ace of Spades writes, "I'd like to know just how flexible the guy running as a 'deal-maker,' the guy who says 'you have to be a little bit establishment,' is on his signature issue."