CLEVELAND — Latino leaders dramatically switched gears Monday by announcing their plans to endorse Donald Trump in the wake of the recent shootings in the United States and terrorist attacks overseas — giving the presumptive GOP presidential nominee a needed boost among minority voters ahead of his scheduled nomination this week here at the Republican National Convention.
Fourteen conservative Hispanic leaders signed a letter saying they are better off throwing their muscle behind Mr. Trump largely because Hillary Clinton cannot be trusted, including on the issue of immigration.
“We have, therefore, decided not only to vote for Donald Trump, but to actively campaign for his candidacy,” the endorsement letter reads. “Too much is at stake for America for us to remain neutral on the sidelines.”
The signatories — including Alfonso Aguilar, head of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and Massey Villareal, former president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce — said that the Mrs. Clinton is not interested in fixing the broken immigration system, and said Mr. Trump has taken a step in the right direction by softening his immigration stance.
“We realize that much of the uproar over Trump within the Latino community has been over his comments and proposals on immigration,” the letter read. “Democrats have certainly used it to pander to our community. But the reality is that Clinton cannot be trusted on immigration.
“[Mr. Trump] said recently that he doesn’t want to deport every single undocumented immigrant, and that he only called for the removal of those with criminal records,” the letter said.
Mr. Trump has staked out a hard line on immigration, and has polled poorly among Hispanic voters, which were key to President Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney in 2012.
The group said Mrs. Clinton must be stopped.
“The magnitude and frequency of the recent episodes of violence and terror, as well as the devastation statements from FBI Director James Comey regarding Hillary’s Clinton’s gross negligence in the handling of her official communications as Secretary of State, have led us to reconsider our position,” the letter read. “We see now that we cannot remain silent as our great Republic, which Abraham Lincoln called ‘the last best hope of earth,’ appear to be coming apart at the seems.”
The letter in full:
In the past weeks and months, many Americans have vividly seen and experienced the tough challenges facing the nation, including terrorist threats and attacks at home, unprecedented divisiveness and racial tension among our citizens, and a slow-growing economy that cannot create good paying jobs. Furthermore, their confidence in our leadership has eroded as they watch politicians use their positions for personal benefit, putting our national security at risk in the process, with the belief that they are above the law.
Like most, these events have given us pause and led us to see in a new light how decisive the next election will be for the future of our country.
During the primary, we took an active stance opposing the candidacy of Donald Trump. We were offended by some of his statements and views on immigration. We said in no uncertain terms that if he became the GOP nominee, we would not support him, campaign for him, or vote for him.
However, the magnitude and the frequency of the recent episodes of violence and terror, as well as the devastating statements from FBI Director James Comey regarding Hillary Clinton’s gross negligence in the handling of her official communications as Secretary of State, have led us to reconsider our position. We see now that we cannot remain silent as our great Republic, which Abraham Lincoln called "the last best hope of earth”, appears to be coming apart at the seams.
We’re convinced that if we allow Hillary Clinton to become president, the liberal policies of the last eight years of big government and social reengineering, which have led to the societal and economic malaise in which we now find ourselves, will be continued and perpetuated.
Furthermore, Clinton’s shady use of an unsecured private server to manage official communications, which included top secret and classified material, and continued lies to cover it up, perhaps even committing perjury before a House of Representatives panel, demonstrate that she does not have the character and ethical standards to be president.
We have, therefore, decided not only to vote for Donald Trump, but to actively campaign for his candidacy. Too much is at stake for America for us to remain neutral on the sidelines.
We are not enamored with Donald Trump’s bombastic rhetoric and personality. But at least we know that Donald Trump won’t divide the country and fuel the flames of racial confrontation by accusing the police and the entire criminal justice system of being racist. We also know that Trump can better address the terrorist threat we face because, contrary to Clinton, he is willing to acknowledge and address its root cause: radical Islamic fundamentalism. And we also know that Trump will reverse the current overregulation and excessive taxation of business which stifles economic growth and prevents the creation of well paid jobs.
We realize that much of the uproar over Trump within the Latino community has been over his comments and proposals on immigration. Democrats have certainly used it to pander to our community. But the reality is that Clinton cannot be trusted on immigration. She now portrays herself as a champion of immigrant rights, yet back in 2007 she voted for a poison pill amendment to kill immigration reform. Just two years ago, she called for the expedited removal of unaccompanied minors coming from Central America.
Let’s face it: Clinton doesn’t want a solution to immigration. Instead, she wants an issue to use for political gain to carry the favor of Latino voters. Like Obama, who promised immigration reform the first year of his term and then didn’t deliver, if elected, Clinton will not do anything to work in a bipartisan way to pass legislation to fix our dysfunctional immigration system.
Ironically, even on immigration, we may fare better with Trump. At the end of the day, he is practical and a deal-maker. He said recently that he doesn’t want to deport every single undocumented immigrant, and that he only called for the removal of those with criminal records.
Our country and our community cannot afford to have someone like Hillary Clinton in the White House at this crucial time in our history. We can, however, reverse the course of decline that America has been placed on by President Obama, a course which Clinton would undoubtedly follow.
We can fix America. We can turn things around. But the way to do that — the only way — is to vote for Donald Trump in November.