(NBC News) - Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called presidential candidate Donald Trump and asked him to pull back his rhetoric on immigration, a source familiar with the conversation told NBC News on Wednesday.
The source, who asked not to be identified, said Priebus made the request to "tone it down" during an almost hour-long conversation covering a wide range of issues when he returned an earlier call from Trump.
The Washington Post, citing Republican donors and consultants who'd been briefed on the conversation, first reported earlier Wednesday that Priebus decided to "reach out" to Trump under pressure from influential Republicans concerned that the real estate mogul-turned-TV-star-turned-politician was embarrassing the party with his recent comments on immigration.
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best," Trump said last month when he announced that he was seeking the Republican nomination. "They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards, and they're telling us what we're getting."
(NBC Universal announced June 29 that it was cutting ties with Trump as a result of the comments.)
Rather than seek to calm the waters after that inflammatory speech, Trump doubled down Wednesday in an interview with NBC News, insisting he had nothing to apologize for.
Trump said he'd build an "impenetrable" wall between the U.S. and Mexico — and that he'd "make" the Mexican government pay for it.
"Mexico's making a fortune off the United States," he said. "I would get them to pay for the wall. Believe me."