UPDATED: 2:22 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Business mogul and TV personality Donald Trump brought his campaign for president to Chicago on Monday, and his speech at a City Club banquet was drawing a record crowd, as well as plenty of protesters.
He made political and diplomatic waves earlier this month, when he launched his presidential campaign in New York, by characterizing most immigrants from Mexico as being undesirables.
“They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some – I assume – are good people; but I speak to border guards, and they tell us what we’re getting, and it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense,” he said.
While Trump was speaking at the City Club, NBC Universal announced that it was cutting ties with Trump, who hosted the reality show “The Apprentice” on the network.
During his speech, Trump said that he is not apologizing to Mexican Americans or NBC for his earlier words about immigration, but insisted he loves the people of Mexico.
“I have a great relationship with Mexico,” he said. “How can I not love people that give me tens of millions of dollars for apartments? You have to love them, but I love them for a lot of reasons. I love them for their spirit but at the same time, we have to have borders.”
After his speech, reporters asked Trump about NBC Universal’s statement cutting ties with him because of his remarks and Trump suggested essentially that it was him that was cutting ties with NBC.
“I just told them I cannot do The Apprentice because of the fact that I am running and as long as I am running for president they were not happy with it. They wanted me to do The Apprentice and now with my statements on immigration, which happened to be correct, they are going to take a different stance and that’s ok.”
Trump says if the U.S. doesn’t end illegal immigration, there won’t be a country.
The City Club of Chicago said more than 2,000 people were on the waiting list for Trump’s speech at Monday’s luncheon at Maggiano’s Banquets, which holds only 300 people. Organizers said it’s the longest waiting list ever for their regular luncheon.
Trump’s remarks at the sold-out luncheon weren’t very far from the skyscraper that has his name emblazoned on the side.