Updated at 12:57 p.m. Jul 9th 2015
Following reports that Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Wednesday asked Donald Trump to tone down his remarks on immigration, Trump on Thursday attempted to downplay the phone call.
Trump said that reports on the phone call were “false,” claiming that it was “more of a congratulatory call.” But he also conceded that Priebus did mention that Trump could soften his tone on immigration. Trump told the New York Times that his call with Priebus only lasted about ten minutes and that it was more of a “more of a congratulatory call.”
According to Trump, Priebus said, “said wow, you’re really doing well in the polls, you really hit a nerve,” adding that Trump may become “number one in the polls.”
“He said, ‘Well, you really have hit a nerve, keep going,'” Trump told the Times about Priebus’ comments. “He said, ‘If you could tone it down – I know that’s tough – but if you could tone it down, that wouldn’t be bad.'”
Trump indicated that he isn’t taking any comments from the RNC chairman seriously, saying that Priebus “knows better than to lecture me.”
“We’re not dealing with a five-star Army general,” Trump said.
He also told the Washington Post that he thought Priebus may have wanted it to seem as thought he’d been “tougher” on Trump during the call in order to please “a lot of different constituencies.”
“He’s got [former Florida governor Jeb] Bush calling him,” Trump told the Post. “And, believe me, Bush is watching. . . It’s their worst nightmare. You understand that.”
Trump first objected to reports about the phone call in a tweet early Thursday morning.
Totally false reporting on my call with @Reince Priebus. He called me, ten minutes, said I hit a “nerve”, doing well, end!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2015
The phone call from the RNC chairman also likely won’t keep Trump from continuing to speak his mind.
“There’s no question in my mind that Mr. Trump’s fortitude on [immigration] will be unshaken, whether it’s a phone call from Reince Priebus or whether it’s [a business cutting its ties,]” Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski told CNN.
Since his initial remarks calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and drug dealers, Trump has refused to apologize and has instead reiterated his remarks. Multiple businesses have cut ties with the businessman, yet he insisted on Wednesday that he will “win the Latino vote” in 2016.