Ripped Donald Trump signs lay on the floor at a rally in Radford, Va., Feb. 29, 2016.
Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC

Some Hispanic Trump backers give up following immigration speech

It’s sometimes best to evaluate a speech based on the degree to which it connected with its audience. If, for example, Donald Trump hoped his immigration speech last night would satisfy his admirers on the right-wing fringe, the remarks were a great success.
 
Former KKK leader David Duke cheered the speech last night, as did other white nationalists. Ann Coulter said on Twitter, “I hear Churchill had a nice turn of phrase, but Trump’s immigration speech is the most magnificent speech ever given.”
 
Of course, Trump already enjoyed the backing of conservative extremists; last night was an opportunity for the Republican nominee to follow through on his much-discussed “pivot” and appeal to a broader audience. How’d that work out? As Politico reported, not too well: some of the high-profile Latino surrogates who were on Team Trump are suddenly looking for the exits.
Jacob Monty, a member of Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Council, quickly resigned after the speech. Another member, Ramiro Pena, a Texas pastor, said Trump’s speech likely cost him the election and said he’d have to reconsider being part of a “scam.” And Alfonso Aguilar, the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said in an interview that he is “inclined” to pull his support.
 
“I was a strong supporter of Donald Trump when I believed he was going to address the immigration problem realistically and compassionately,” said Monty, a Houston attorney who has aggressively made the Latino case for Trump. “What I heard today was not realistic and not compassionate.”
Pena, a pastor at Waco’s Christ the King Church, added in a message to an RNC official that Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council “seems to be simply for optics and I do not have the time or energy for a scam.”
 
Aguilar added, “We thought we were moving in the right direction… [W]e’re disappointed. We feel misled.”
 
Quoting an unnamed campaign adviser, a CBS reporter added this morning that “half of Trump’s Hispanic advisory board is ready to resign today.”
 
Remember, Mitt Romney lost in 2012 in part because he earned only 27% of the Latino vote, four points worse than John McCain’s total four years earlier. Republican officials were determined to see that number grow in 2016 – but at this point, Donald Trump appears to not only be struggling with this community, he’s also driving away the limited number of Latino backers he managed to cajole.
 
Postscript: Javier Palomarez, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, added on MSNBC this morning that Trump is “done for with the Hispanic community.”
 
 
 
 

Donald Trump, Immigration Reform and Latino Voters

Some Hispanic Trump backers give up following immigration speech