Exclusive: Trump on his gains with Hispanic voters

“I think they know that I love them. I have great respect for them. They are very entrepreneurial people. Very smart and energetic people, and they see I’m doing the right thing,” he says. “They also know I’m tough on the border, and tough on immigration. And they knew better than anybody else that the border was important. A lot of people thought I was going to hurt myself with the Hispanics with my tough stance on the border. No, they don’t want people coming in taking their jobs, taking their house.”

Trump’s significant gains in majority Hispanic counties along the Texas border were nothing short of eye-popping. He increased his vote share by an average of 26.8% in 17 counties in southern Texas with an average Hispanic population of 88.8%. Trump recalled getting the news about his performance in border counties in a phone call from Gov. Greg Abbott: “He said, ‘We can’t believe it; the numbers you got are the highest anybody’s gotten since Reconstruction. Best numbers we’ve seen since the Civil War.’”

Hispanic voters, Trump says, “understood better than anyone that I was doing the right thing in terms of their lives, the crime, their jobs.” He also reaped massive gains with Hispanic voters in Florida, particularly in the traditional Democratic stronghold of Miami-Dade County.

“The Democrats can’t believe the Hispanic numbers; they never thought they see that,” Trump says. “If you look at the results in Miami: Cubans, Venezuelans, you look at the numbers in Miami — they are through the roof. The Republicans get decimated in Miami, and I almost won Miami and then the rest of the state was mine.”