- The Washington Times - Friday, October 2, 2015

The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said Friday that Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a question-and-answer session scheduled for next week “only deepens our community’s already-negative perceptions of him.”

A spokesperson for the group said Mr. Trump is the only White House hopeful that has turned down an invite to appear before the group and they said Mr. Trump withdrew because he was concerned about “being ‘put on trial.’”

“With an 84 percent disapproval rating among Hispanics, Trump’s decision to withdraw from the session only deepens our community’s already negative perceptions of him,” said Ammar Campa-Najjar. “Withdrawing from the Q&A can only suggest that Trump himself believes his views are indefensible before a Hispanic audience.”

The event was scheduled for Oct. 8. The Trump campaign said that the New York billionaire is slated to speak that day at an event in Nevada.

Hope Hicks, a Trump spokesperson, also took aim at Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President Javier Palomarez, saying he “continues to leverage the national media attention surrounding Mr. Trump to benefit his organization and exploit Mr. Trump to enlist additional support and increase interest and revenue in his coalition including asking Mr. Trump to join his chamber for a fee amounting to between $25,000 and $2 million, which Mr. Trump refused to do.”

She said Mr. Trump is committed to making inroads with Hispanic voters.

Mr. Trump has come under fire from some immigration activists groups after calling for the deportation of all illegal immigrants and the end of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants. He also has called for more border fencing.

Mr. Campa-Najjar said Mr. Trump would be treated like the other presidential candidates that have appeared before them, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who is Hispanic.

Trump would have been treated no differently than other candidates,” he said. “As stated previously, as with all candidates, we want our members and the American people to hear from each presidential hopeful, away from public spectacle of the debate floor, to form their own opinions.

“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,” he said.

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