GOP Hispanics Seem Surprised They’re For Trump

The group is trying to persuade Latinos to vote for a candidate who wants mass deportations.

CREDIT: SCREENCAP
CREDIT: SCREENCAP

Donald Trump has called Mexican immigrants “rapists.” He’s promised the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants and wants to blackmail Mexico into building a border wall by cutting off remittances to poor families. He recently argued that judges of Mexican descent are incapable of being impartial when presiding over cases involving him — a claim CNN’s Jake Tapper characterized as “the definition of racism.”

If you think all the above makes winning Latino support an uphill climb for Trump, you’re right. A Pew survey from July found Hillary Clinton with a 42-point lead over Trump among that demographic, while other recent polls had her up by more than 50.

That’s terrible news for Trump and the Republicans who support him. A 2012 report commissioned by the GOP in wake of Obama’s 44-point victory over Mitt Romney among Latinos concluded Republicans must immediately change their platform and embrace immigration reform in order to appeal to the fast-growing Latino population — a move crucial to salvaging the party’s chances in future general elections. Suffice it to say that with Trump at the helm, the Republican brand has gone in the opposite direction.

But a group called GOP Hispanics hasn’t totally given up on this presidential election cycle. In a video published today on Twitter, Republican National Committee Hispanic spokesperson Helen Aguirre Ferre makes a case for Trump. After blasting the Iran nuclear deal, she says “Donald Trump wants the U.S. to lead and be respected. Peace through strength. Yes, I am for Trump.”

If the “Yes, I’m with Trump” line seems akin to something someone might say while dispelling a practical joke, that could be in part because Aguirre Ferre was tweeting messages critical of Trump as recently in May (she’s since deleted them). She became the RNC’s Hispanic spokesperson in June after her predecessor, Ruth Guerr, quit because she was uncomfortable working on behalf of a candidate who has campaigned for a border wall and mass deportations.

Before she took her job with the RNC, Aguirre Ferre said women “deserve better” than Trump. During a TV appearance last year, she said candidates who are “treating Hispanics badly, they don’t deserve to be the nominee.” Since then, Trump’s most significant Latino outreach effort has arguably been tweeting a photo of himself eating a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo with the caption, “I love Hispanics!”