During a Thursday interview with CBN News, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference President Rev. Samuel Rodriguez was asked if he thought Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is a racist.
"That's just hyperbole," he said. "That's hyperbole from the liberal media for the purpose of attempting to paint a facist sort of racist moniker on Donald Trump that I do not believe is accurate whatsoever."
He did, however, suggest Trump's rhetoric as it applies to illegals was counter-productive. Many of those who have entered the country illegally are attending NHCLC churches and are "born-again Christians, committed to biblical orthodoxy, or very staunch conservative Catholics."
Rodriguez signaled he was willing to work with the GOP presidential candidate on immigration policy—and has been rumored to be meeting with the businessman soon. The NHCLC president has previously advised former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on immigration policy and currently serves on U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz' Religious Liberty Advisory Council, although he insists he hasn't endorsed any candidate for president.
After the CBN interview aired, Rodriguez further explained his comments about Trump.
"In the 2016 race for president, I have not endorsed a candidate and continue to look for the best person to represent the values of Latino evangelicals," he said. "The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is open to meeting and working with all candidates who legitimately want to find solutions for moving forward in this arena.
"I call upon all presidential hopefuls to immediately cease from engaging in rhetorical demagoguery and hyperbole. Those aspiring to lead us must begin by operating within the confines of civility and respect. Donald Trump is not a racist. Ted Cruz is not a liar. Let's start fresh."
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