Three former models who worked for Donald Trump's modeling agency told Mother Jones this week that they were in the United States illegally at the time. They also claimed that Trump Model Management actually encouraged models to lie to custom officials about their visits.
When CNN's Alisyn Camerota asked Trump running mate, Mike Spence, about this yesterday, he described the allegations as only a 'sidebar issue.' This despite the fact that concerns about illegal immigration are one of the major focuses of the pair's election campaign. From the CNN transcript:
CAMEROTA: Governor, speaking of immigration laws, we just had on a model here from Germany who worked for three years with the Trump modeling agency. And she says that the Trump modeling agency violated immigration laws and had she and the other models work without the proper work visas. What's your response?
[08:10:13] PENCE: Well, my response is that we've heard those kind of accusations before, even directed at the Trump family. And I'm very confident that this business, like the other Trump businesses, has conformed to the laws of this country.
But look, these are not the things, Alisyn, that people are talking to me about around the country. I spent a lot of time in Georgia in the last couple of days. I was in North Carolina last night. The American people are concerned about this economy, they're concerned about security. They're deeply concerned about the impact of illegal immigration on this country.
PENCE: And Donald Trump is going to continue to focus on those issues. And I think that's why you see this race tightening up. And that's why I really do believe we're poised for a great victory in November.
CAMEROTA: On the topic of illegal immigration, wouldn't this be relevant? Wouldn't the fact that one of his own companies, the Trump modeling agency, if they employed models illegally, doesn't that point out some hypocrisy in this race?
PENCE: Well, as I said, I think the Trump organization can speak for itself on those issues. I'm very confident that they complied and conformed to the laws of the country. As I said, these sidebar issues that come up, his business enterprise can address those. And I'm confident they'll address forthrightly.
But I really have to tell you, Alisyn, I said this to you at the Iowa state fair, where the American people are focused right now is on security, getting this economy moving again, ending the flood of illegal immigration, upholding our constitution, and really making sure we have the highest standards of ethics in the highest office in the land.