Ex-Republican senator spent last days of his life apologising for Donald Trump's xenophobia

Washington: A partially paralysed former Republican senator used his last days to apologise to Muslims for the rise of Donald Trump as his party's presidential nominee, his family members said.

Former Utah senator Bob Bennett was disgusted by Trump having become the party's presidential front-runner based on his controversial stances on Muslim and immigration, his wife and son told The Daily Beast.

"In the last days of his life this was an issue that was pressing in his mind...disgust for Donald Trump's xenophobia," Bennett's son Jim said.

Donald Trump. AP

Donald Trump. AP

"At the end of his life he was preoccupied with getting things done that he had felt was left undone."

Trump's proposal to ban Muslim immigrants from America had outraged the former senator, his wife Joyce said, triggering his instincts to do what he could on a personal level.

They ultimately did not canvass the hospital, but Bennett had already made an effort in his last months of life.

As they traveled from Washington to Utah for Christmas break, Bennett approached a woman wearing a hijab in the airport.

"He would go to people with the hijab [on] and tell them he was glad they were in America, and they were welcome here," his wife said. "He wanted to apologise on behalf of the Republican Party."

When Bennett was lying partially paralysed in his bed on the fourth floor of the George Washington University Hospital days before his death and with his speech slurred, he asked if there were any Muslims in the hospital.

"I'd love to go up to every single one of them to thank them for being in this country, and apologise to them on behalf of the Republican Party for Donald Trump," Bennett told his family members.

Bennett died on 4 May of complications from a stroke and pancreatic cancer.

69-year-old real estate tycoon Trump defeated his 16 Republican rivals to emerge as party's presumptive presidential nominee.

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Updated Date: May 19, 2016 21:26:40 IST

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