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Mexican ambassador-designate to US downplays Donald Trump's comments about Mexico, immigrants

FILE - In this July 31, 2015 file photo, two women pose for a photo standing next to a pinata in the likeness of Donald Trump, during a protest against Trump and derogatory remarks he has made about Mexicans, in Brownsville, Texas. Mexico’s ambassador-designate to Washington, Miguel Basanez, sought to downplay Trump’s comments on Mexico, telling a Senate confirmation hearing on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, that Trump is simply playing politics. (Brad Doherty/The Brownsville Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

FILE - In this July 31, 2015 file photo, two women pose for a photo standing next to a pinata in the likeness of Donald Trump, during a protest against Trump and derogatory remarks he has made about Mexicans, in Brownsville, Texas. Mexico’s ambassador-designate to Washington, Miguel Basanez, sought to downplay Trump’s comments on Mexico, telling a Senate confirmation hearing on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, that Trump is simply playing politics. (Brad Doherty/The Brownsville Herald via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT  (The Associated Press)

Mexico's ambassador-designate to Washington sought to downplay Donald Trump's comments on Mexico, telling a Senate confirmation hearing on Friday that Trump is simply playing politics.

President Enrique Pena Nieto nominated U.S.-based Mexican academic Miguel Basanez as the country's new ambassador to Washington earlier this month.

Basanez still must be confirmed by Mexico's Senate. On Friday he told senators that "what (Trump) is doing now is just part of the primary campaign."

Basanez said the Republican presidential hopeful "knows very well that what he is saying is false ... he knows very well he will apologize to Mexicans."

Trump has said some Mexican immigrants crossing into the U.S. illegally were "rapists" and "criminals," and has pledged to build a "beautiful" wall on the Mexican border.

Basanez, who is currently an adjunct professor at Tufts University's Fletcher School, said Trump "changes his opinion as often as necessary."