Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson isn’t buying comments from Donald Trump Tuesday that “there could certainly be a softening” of the Republican presidential nominee’s stance on immigration.
“Look, we should embrace immigration,” Johnson said Wednesday during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day.” “These are really hard-working people that are taking jobs that U.S. citizens don’t want.”
The former governor of New Mexico was dismissive of recent signals that the Republican nominee could moderate some of his immigration proposals, including his previous call to round up and deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States.
“He still says he wants to build a wall across the border,” Johnson said of Trump. “And, really, he’s not going to deport all 11 million. He’s going to keep some.”
Trump’s hard-line position on the issue of immigration has animated his campaign more than any other, but that once-resolute stance has turned fuzzy this week.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s newly appointed campaign manager, said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the candidate might back off from his support of a deportation force.
“To be determined,” Conway said.
But appearing on Fox News on Monday, Trump stood by his support of mass deportation, saying there are “a lot of bad people that have to get of this country.”
“They’re going to be out of here so fast, your head will spin,” Trump said.
The following day, in a different interview on Fox News, Trump said “there could certainly be a softening (on immigration) because we’re not looking to hurt people.”
Trump wasn’t the only candidate who drew scrutiny from Johnson on Wednesday. Addressing the report that Hillary Clinton met with donors to the Clinton Foundation during her time as secretary of state, Johnson said there is an “implication” of a “pay-to-play” arrangement.
But he said that no legal lines were crossed.
“Nobody’s going to get prosecuted for this because that’s also the nature of this,” Johnson said.
Johnson is jockeying to get on the debate stage with Trump and Clinton this fall. In order to qualify, he must eclipse 15% in an average of five different polls. Johnson has yet to hit that threshold in any major national poll, but he said Monday he’s “kind of optimistic” about his chances of qualifying.