NEW YORK, Sept 30 Donald Trump said he believed
his assertion last year that Mexicans crossing the border
illegally are "rapists" bringing crime were "pretty mainstream"
and should have attracted customers to his new Washington
restaurant, according to court records BuzzFeed News published
"I've tapped into something and I've tapped into illegal
immigration," the Republican presidential candidate said in a
June 16 deposition for a lawsuit against a celebrity chef who
dropped out of the restaurant venture at his new hotel.
Chef Geoffrey Zakarian pulled out after Trump's June 15,
2015 comments as he announced his bid for the White House.
Trump said Zakarian may have missed an opportunity.
"If he had the restaurant, it would be helped instead of
hurt" by the comments, Trump said in the deposition.
Zakarian, who has appeared in cooking shows like "The Next
Iron Chef," "Chopped" and "Top Chef," signed a deal with Trump
to open the restaurant in the historic Old Post Office building
near the White House, which Trump won the right to lease and
renovate from the U.S. government.
The project, called the Trump International Hotel, opened on
Sept. 12, almost a year after it was originally expected to
Zakarian backed out in July 2015, after the speech Trump
gave on June 16, 2015 announcing his candidacy and bemoaning the
flow of people across the southern U.S. border. Zakarian said
Trump's comments were out of sync with his "personal core
Several companies, including Macy's Inc, broadcaster
NBC and stock car racing organization NASCAR, also cut
ties with Trump after his comments.
Trump, through his subsidiary operating the hotel, sued
Zakarian, alleging the broken deal cost him more than $10
In the deposition, Trump also said his comments about
Mexicans illegally crossing the border had helped him win the
Republican presidential nomination, a sign his views were
The case is Trump Old Post Office LLC et al v. CZ-National
LLC, et al, District of Columbia Superior Court.
(Reporting by Emily Flitter; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)