Trump: Pope Is Ill-Informed On U.S.-Mexico Border

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Clemson University Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Pendleton, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Clemson University Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Pendleton, S.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. — The Latest from the 2016 campaign trail (all times local):

6:03 p.m.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is hitting Pope Francis over his upcoming visit to the U.S.-Mexican border.

Trump says in an interview on Fox Business News Thursday, "that the pope is a very political person."

He says, "I think he doesn't understand the problems our country has."

Trump has made securing the border a cornerstone of his campaign, promising to build a wall along the length of southern border and immediately deport all of the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally.

Trump says of the pope: "I don't think he understands the danger of the open border that we have with Mexico."


3:46 p.m.

The brothers Bush are officially hitting the trail together.

Jeb Bush's presidential campaign announced Thursday that former President George W. Bush would campaign in North Charleston on Monday with his brother.

A radio ad featuring the 43rd president has already been airing on airwaves in this early primary state, but the two have not appeared together. Matriarch Barbara Bush has previously campaigned for her son in early voting states.


2:37 p.m.

John Kasich won't attack his rivals, but his advisers will.

Kasich's chief strategist, John Weaver, is characterizing South Carolina as a "must-win" state for both Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. Weaver says he's eager to watch the "tarantula-scorpion battle" between the two.

Weaver's comments, made on a call with reporters, serve to downplay expectations for Kasich's performance in South Carolina, where the Ohio governor has barely campaigned.

He says South Carolina has been a "firewall" for the Bush family and notes that some of Rubio's advisers have roots here. Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan is from South Carolina.

Still, Weaver says Kasich is about to begin an advertising campaign in South Carolina, running ads on television from this Friday through next. Kasich, meanwhile, heads to Michigan on Monday and Tuesday, then to Virginia and New York for a fundraiser on Wednesday before heading back to South Carolina.

Weaver is declining to give updated fundraising numbers. But he says fundraising has been strong since Tuesday night.


2:05 p.m.

Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb says he will not run as an independent candidate for president, citing the challenge of raising money for a White House bid.

Webb sought the Democratic presidential nomination but dropped out in October after failing to gain traction against Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. The former Reagan administration official said then he would consider running as an independent.

Webb says in a speech in Dallas that both parties have moved away from the major concerns of the average American. But he said an independent bid would have "enormously costly and time sensitive" and he didn't see a way he could raise enough money.


12:45 p.m.

Michael Bloomberg sees an opportunity emerging in presidential politics after Hillary Clinton's blowout defeat in New Hampshire and Donald Trump's victory there.

But those close to the former New York City mayor caution that he's not rushing to join the race.

Bloomberg — widely considered a fiscal conservative but social liberal — has taken the first steps to mount an independent campaign. If he runs, he'd be looking to tap interest among middle-of-the-road voters in an election year dominated by candidates supported by those on the fringes of their parties.

But even as Trump and self-described "democratic socialist" Bernie Sanders emerged victorious in New Hampshire Tuesday, Bloomberg's aides suggested that Clinton's shortfall may not be enough to compel his third-party run.


12:39 p.m.

A group of Latino celebrities is condemning Donald Trump and his Republican presidential rivals, saying the bombastic billionaire speaks for the GOP's anti-immigrant, anti-Latino agenda.

The group is urging the nation's 55 million Latinos to "vote for candidates who support our community, and slamming GOP presidential candidates who are "pandering to the anti-immigrant base of the Republican Party that idolizes" Trump.

In an open letter written in English and Spanish, the group did not endorse either Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

The list of Latino celebrities includes actress America Ferrera, comedian George Lopez and legendary musician Carlos Santana. People for the American Way, the liberal organization founded by TV producer Norman Lear, organized the group.

In denouncing Trump, they say he's spent "the entirety of his presidential bid stoking unfounded anti-immigrant fears and deeply offending our communities."


12:31 p.m.

Civil rights leader John Lewis says he never saw, nor met, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during his work for racial justice in the 1960s.

The Georgia Democrat told reporters at a news conference Thursday that he was involved in the sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington and the march from Selma to Montgomery. Lewis said he also chaired the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee for three years.

Asked about Sanders, who said he attended the 1963 March on Washington, Lewis said, "I never saw him. I never met him."

On his campaign website, Sanders says he has a long history of fighting for the rights of black Americans, including time as a student leader of the Congress of Racial Equality. He also said he was arrested for protesting segregation.

Lewis made the comments as the political action committee of the Congressional Black Caucus endorsed Sanders' rival, Hillary Clinton.


12:09 p.m.

Marco Rubio says that having a brokered national convention this year would not necessarily be a bad thing.

The Florida Republican said Thursday his campaign is prepared to compete until the GOP nomination is decided — and even if that means the GOP has to select a nominee at its July convention. He made the comments while having a late breakfast with reporters at an Okatie, South Carolina Cracker Barrel.

He says the rules were never designed "to have everybody drop out after a certain time — it's just the way it's worked historically because people have run out of money or they don't see a path forward. I don't think it necessarily is negative."

Having finished third and fifth place in the first two primary contests, Rubio said his team is focused on collecting delegates in what could become a long slog to his presidential nomination.


11:35 a.m.

The political action committee of the Congressional Black Caucus has endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Rep. Gregory Meeks said Thursday that the Democratic presidential candidate has been a long term partner who understands the racial divide.

In a tacit swipe at Sen. Bernie Sanders, Meeks said her knowledge of the racial split wasn't something Clinton acquired recently.

Members of the CBC board including civil rights icon John Lewis said they would travel to South Carolina to campaign for Clinton.

The announcement, anticipated days, came at a news conference at Democratic Party headquarters in Washington.

The political action committee is separate from the Congressional Black Caucus, not all of whom have endorsed Clinton. Reps. James Clyburn of South Carolina and Barbara Lee of California have not endorsed a candidate. And Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., has endorsed Sanders.


10:35 a.m.

John Kasich says he's a "scrappy guy" who won't "take crap from anybody" — but he's still pledging to run a positive campaign.

Speaking to voters at a pancake house on South Carolina's coast Thursday, the Ohio governor is responding to questions over how he'll cut through the noise of a chaotic GOP race.

Kasich notes his rivals are already ramping up attacks against him after his second place finish in New Hampshire on Tuesday. He says he'll defend his record, but doesn't see the point of running a negative campaign. Still, he's giving Jeb Bush a poke.

"I'm worried about Jeb, it's all negative. How the heck can you sell negative?" Kasich says.

He adds, "I'm gonna keep doing what I'm doing, either it will work or it won'


10:15 a.m.

Marco Rubio is turning up the heat on his Republican rivals as he campaigns in South Carolina.

The Florida senator jabbed Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush on national security while facing hundreds of South Carolina voters at an Okatie retirement community Thursday morning.

"Donald Trump has zero foreign policy experience — negotiating a hotel deal in another country is not foreign policy experience," Rubio charged.

He also questioned Bush's foreign policy experience and criticized Cruz for supporting military budget cuts.

Rubio's sharp remarks come a day after he promised to be more aggressive with other Republicans after faltering in last week's debate — a performance he has apologized for after his fifth place finish in the New Hampshire primary.

Feb. 11, 2016 6:14 PM EST AP


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