He has been treating Mexicans and other Latinos like piñatas. We won’t forget.
It is hard to imagine anything he could say in Wednesday night’s scheduled speech; there is too much bad blood. There is a reason that 80% of Latinos now disapprove of Trump, his words, his policies and his methods.
Actually, I can think of at least 10 reasons:
- On June 16, 2015, Trump launched his campaign by attacking our southern neighbor. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said. Consistent with the model set a century ago by countries such as Ireland and Italy, Mexico is in fact sending its best, who bring with them youth, energy, daring and optimism.
- Then Trump took aim at the immigrants, saying: “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” He ended his remarks with an unconvincing: “And some, I assume, are good people.” Some Mexican immigrants come with criminal intent, but most come to work. Besides, the universe of criminals, rapists and drug traffickers includes lots of Americans.
- Trump didn’t do himself any favors with Latinos when he cozied up to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose department was recently found guilty by a federal judge of racially profiling Latinos and defying court orders to cease the practice and hand over evidence. The Justice Department is planning to investigate whether Arpaio is guilty of criminal contempt for ignoring the judge’s orders.
- Trump also keeps bad company by deferring to Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., as his top adviser on immigration. It has been clear for a few months now that Trump has essentially outsourced his entire immigration policy to Sessions. That makes for strange bedfellows given that Trump supports more legal immigration, and Sessions advocates limiting it.
- While announcing that he would create a “deportation force,” Trump praised President Eisenhower who, as the candidate noted during a debate last year, “moved 1.5 million illegal immigrants out of this country.” The effort was inhumane, and many U.S.-born Hispanics were caught in the web. Trump was careful not to mention the program’s name, but Latinos know it all too well: “Operation Wetback.”
- Despite the fact that a majority of Latinos support President Obama’s executive actions to offer young undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children temporary reprieves from deportation, the Republican presidential nominee has promised to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
- Last August, Trump challenged a provision of the Constitution that makes plain that the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants are, in fact, U.S. citizens. Trump insisted that “many of the great scholars say that anchor babies are not covered” by the 14th Amendment.
- During the GOP primary, Trump retweeted an offensive comment about former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s Mexican-born wife, suggesting: “#JebBush has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife.” Columba Bush came here legally. Trump deleted the retweet, but he never apologized. Trump also admonished Bush for speaking Spanish on the stump and demanded that his rival speak English while in the United States.
- Also during the primary, Trump laid waste to Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and even immigration hard-liner Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas by portraying them as soft on illegal immigration. He did so by oversimplifying a complicated issue, advancing falsehoods, and spreading demagoguery. Ironically, in recent days, Trump has flirted with “softening” his position and adopting a stance similar to those held by the opponents he defeated.
- Trump went from wading in racism to bathing in it when he challenged the ability of Gonzalo Curiel, a U.S.-born federal judge of Mexican descent, to be fair and objective in adjudicating a lawsuit against Trump University because, as Trump said of Curiel, “he’s a Mexican.”
That’s quite a list, and it’s not even complete. I’m convinced that Trump did most of these things to antagonize Latinos, not out of malice but because of opportunism. He knew it would excite his base of mostly white voters to see him treating Mexicans, and other Latinos, like piñatas.
What fun. Just wait until November, amigo — when the piñatas hit back.