Republican front-runner Donald Trump is providing voters with entertainment, not leadership, and he won't be the next U.S. president, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday during a visit to Mexico.
Denying immigrants the ability to work in the U.S. would be "fundamentally changing the character of America, and we're not going to do it," Thomas Donohue said in an interview with Bloomberg Politics in Mexico City, where he was participating in a meeting of corporate executives. Before stirring controversy Monday by proposing a temporary ban on travel to the U.S. by Muslims, Trump also proposed building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and kicking out undocumented workers.
Donohue said the U.S. economy needs the contributions of immigrants—running the gamut from those who graduate from the nation's top universities and want to stay to those who want to work in agriculture.
Asked about Trump's candidacy, he said "he won't be the next president." Trump is “entertainment, but he’s not leadership for the American people," he said.
Donohue wasn't the only U.S. business leader who faced questions about Trump at the gathering in Mexico City. General Electric Co. Vice Chairman John G. Rice, when asked about the billionaire politician, said that the more people “understand the value that this relationship creates between the United States and Mexico, for companies like GE and every other company that operates in both countries, the less they’ll pay attention to heated political rhetoric.”
In his interview with Bloomberg, Donohue said an unusually large field of Republican candidates has made for a campaign in which "the rhetoric has been entertaining and frustrating." He downplayed the significance of Trump's position at the top of the polls. "We'll go to the primaries and we'll see how people will vote," he said.
"The fundamental strength of America is the right for people to speak their mind, to say their piece, and to pursue a position in the political spectrum if they want and run for office," he said. "It's also their right to lose and not succeed and not to get elected."
—Nacha Cattan contributed to this article.