Donald Trump called for a more inclusive Republican party soon after meeting with his newly-minted Hispanic advisory board on Saturday.
During a rally in Virginia, the business mogul called on the party of Abraham Lincoln to improve its efforts to bring in minority voters and assured supporters that he and the GOP are up to the task.
"I fully recognize that outreach to the African-American community is an area where the Republican Party must do better, and will do better," Trump said in Fredericksburg, located between Richmond and Washington in the critical battleground state of Virginia.
Trump’s new minority outreach efforts follow a shake-up of his campaign management. It started with a sit-down meeting with his new Hispanic advisory board made up of elected officials, business and faith leaders that hopes to ignite and improve relations with Latino voters.
The meeting was held in the 25th floor boardroom of Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan.
A recent Fox News Latino poll found Trump lagging significantly behind Clinton among Latino voters, partially due to some of the more critical comments on immigration he has made since entering the race.
He has accused Mexico of sending rapists and criminals across the border, and has vowed to deport all of the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.
Helen Aguirre Ferre, director of Hispanic communications for the Republican National Committee, called the meeting a "game-changing" opportunity.
“Their participation is just one component of our expansive effort to engage the Hispanic community, and their contributions will help us compete for every vote in every community all the way through Election Day,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus in a statement.
However, despite taking a more inclusive, less caustic tone this week during his campaign appearances, Trump continued to rail against the impact of illegal immigration.
In a stop in Fredericksburg, located between Richmond and Washington in the critical battleground state of Virginia, on Saturday afternoon, Trump claimed that an influx of undocumented immigrants to the state was putting “enormous pressure” on local schools and public services.
And he blamed "border-crossers" who are "being relocated to the state" for taking jobs away.
"The people hurt most by our open border are low-income Hispanic and African-Americans who are competing for jobs and community resources against new arrivals," he said.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.