The 2012 Republican contest showed a succession of front-runners including far-right Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, ex-U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and (before he imploded) Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

But pressed for an answer, Christie repeated what he has been saying since Trump entered the race last month, that the remarks were inappropriate, but he still considers Trump a friend.

“And to all the other Republicans running for president, why did it take weeks for most of you to speak out?” Still, that is an improvement from the last ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted in May before Trump’s campaign announcement, when 71 percent viewed him unfavorably and just 16 percent said they had a favorable impression of him.

“They are bringing drugs and bringing crime and their rapists”, he said, adding that he would build a “great wall” along the southern border and make Mexico pay for it. The comments were widely condemned by the Hispanic community. I like people who are willing to say what they believe.

He said the politicians who are criticizing Trump do so because they support amnesty. The LA Weekly’s source asked to remain anonymous, but reported that Donald Trump’s invasion idea was met with applause from the conservative crowd.

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Donald Trump’s star is on the rise – at least among Republican voters. Despite the criticism, Trump has risen in the polls and is now leading in at least one national survey.

“Bashing Mexicans might give Donald Trump a short-term political bump”, Politics Voices contributor John Feehery writes for the Christian Science Monitor, “But long term, that kind of rhetoric is politically disastrous for the Republican Party and bad for the country at large”.

Donald Trump thinks the US “should have invaded Mexico” rather than Iraq, according to reports about a recently told an audience of conservatives in Hollywood. Jeb Bush, for instance, began 2015 at an average of 8.8 points behind likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Although the 2016 vote is more than a year away, the candidates’ poll standing has independent significance in a GOP field of 16.

But the poll had another reality check for Trump.

PPP’s newest North Carolina poll finds that Donald Trump’s momentum just keeps on building.

“I have had a chance to associate with [Trump] now that I have moved down to Florida“, Carson said.