Republican White House frontrunner Donald Trump has backed out of an appearance at the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Trump had previously agreed to participate in a question-and-answer session with the business organisation on October 8 in Washington, but the chamber said on Friday (local time) the billionaire real estate tycoon was "unwilling" to abide by the terms of the format.
"Trump's decision to forfeit the Q&A session was motivated by the concern of being 'put on trial,'" the chamber's spokesperson Ammar Campa-Najjar said in a statement, adding that Trump would have been treated "no differently" than other candidates.
Several 2016 presidential hopefuls, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent seeking the Democratic nomination, have sat for public interviews with the chamber.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, have committed to appear before the chamber, as a way to make their case before an increasingly influential voting bloc.
"The Q&A series was designed to ensure that every candidate can explain in detail their political ideology, policies and campaign rhetoric in a thoughtful, deliberate and substantive fashion," Campa-Najjar said.
"Withdrawing from the Q&A can only suggest that Trump himself believes his views are indefensible before a Hispanic audience."
Trump's inflammatory rhetoric has alienated Latino voters, despite his oft-repeated claim that "Hispanics love me."
He has called for mass deportation of immigrants living illegally in the United States.
When he declared his candidacy, he called some Mexican immigrants "rapists" and murderers, and he has derided Republican rival Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail.
The Republicans' 2012 nominee Mitt Romney won just 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, and poll data shows Trump would likely face an even poorer showing if the election were held today.
Trump is viewed unfavourably by 82 percent of Hispanics, with just 15 percent viewing him favourably, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released last month.
"Trump's decision to withdraw from the session only deepens our community's already negative perceptions of him," Campa-Najjar said.