With Univision’s decision to sever ties with the Miss Universe pageant — which is controlled in part by Donald Trump — the Republican presidential candidate and his camp are questioning the Hispanic media outlet’s move, saying that the company was reacting to pressure from Mexico and its owner, Haim Saban, who is a big Hillary Clinton supporter.
“[Univision is] put under a lot of pressure, in my opinion, by the Mexican government to get [me] to not talk about trade and the southern border,” Trump told The Daily Caller on Thursday.
“The biggest people in Univision, they’re all supporting Hillary,” he added. “I think that had a lot to do with it. They see how I’m doing in the polls,” the real estate billionaire continued, citing a recent poll from Suffolk University which shows him in second place in New Hampshire behind Jeb Bush.
“They know that I’ll beat [Clinton] if I run against her,” Trump said.
Univision, which is the largest Hispanic media company in the U.S., announced on Thursday that it was ending its relationship with the Miss Universe Organization “based on [Trump’s] recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants.”
Trump ruffled feathers during his campaign kickoff last week when he criticized U.S. immigration policy which he said allows “rapists” from Mexico to enter the country. Trump said that he would build a fence to stop illegal immigration. He also lamented U.S. trade policy with Mexico.
Trump’s statements elicited strong responses from many, including Clinton. The Democratic front-runner accused Trump of saying “very inflammatory things about Mexicans.”
Univision agreed, stating that Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans serve an “important role” in building and maintaining the U.S.
“We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12th or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization,” Univision said in its statement. The company signed a five-year, $13.5 million contract last year to air the pageant.
In a phone interview, Michael Cohen, an executive vice president at the Trump Organization also cited pressure from Mexico and Saban’s support for Clinton as factors in Univision’s decision to cut ties.
“It is not inconceivable that Haim Saban, a well-known and longtime financial supporter of the Clintons, would be putting pressure on Univision to terminate an iron-clad contract with the Miss Universe organization and Mr. Trump,” Cohen told TheDC.
Saban, who bought Univision in 2007, has donated at least $25 million to the Clinton Foundation. And his wife, Cheryl, sits on the board of the nonprofit. Last year, Univision and the Clinton Foundation embarked on a joint effort called “Pequeños y Valiosos,” Politico reported last month.
Besides supporting the Clinton’s philanthropic efforts, Saban is also a heavy political supporter of the Clintons. Last year, he told Bloomberg that he would donate “as much as needed” to help get Clinton elected in 2016. Numerous articles have been devoted to describing how useful Univision will be to Clinton’s campaign given the outlet’s strong influence within the Hispanic community.
“[Univision] wanted me just not to talk about the bad trade deals that the United States consistently makes with Mexico and the problems we have at the border,” Trump told TheDC. “They just wanted me to not talk about it.”
But he added: “I love the Mexican people.” They have a “tremendous spirit,” he said.
In its statement, Univision said that it will continue to “provide comprehensive coverage of all candidates, including Mr. Trump, to ensure our audience continues to have access to all points of view.”
A request for comment to Univision was not immediately returned.
This article has been updated to include Donald Trump’s comments.