By Graig Graziosi
June 8, 2016
The state's Republican leaders should push back against presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and his racist comments, according to Arizona Latino and community leaders speaking at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Because of divisive statements including those against Gonzalo Curiel, the judge in a case involving Trump University, Trump is not welcome in Arizona, according to Samantha Pstross, Arizona Advocacy Network's executive director.
Trump has scheduled a visit to the state June 18. His return to Arizona comes as GOP leaders here and nationally struggle to unify the party behind a top-of-the-ticket candidate whose remarks about immigrants, Muslims and, most recently, a Hispanic judge have created a constant drumbeat of controversy.
Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, Los Abogados Vice President Jason Barraza, and the district director for Arizona's Democratic U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, Luis Heredia, joined Pstross at a news conference.
The speakers also said Arizona's Republican U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, should reconsider their obstructionism and consider President Barack Obama's candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy instead of holding the position open to be filled by the next president — potentially Trump.
"These ongoing attacks against the Hispanic community should be repudiated, and Trump’s attempts to undermine our judicial system should be seen as unbecoming of a presumptive presidential nominee of a major political party," said Barraza of Los Abogados, Arizona's Hispanic Bar Association.
Jim Barton, an attorney at Torres Consulting and Law Group, said, "How can Trump possibly swear an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States if he’s going to disregard the 14th and 15th amendment?"
The 15th Amendment grants African-American men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
"The Constitution isn’t just enforced by judges, it’s enforced by the president, and this candidate can’t possibly enforce that Constitution," Barton said.
“The Constitution isn’t just enforced by judges, it’s enforced by the president, and this candidate can’t possibly enforce that Constitution.”
Jim Barton, attorney, on Donald Trump
Gallardo said, "We need other Republican leaders throughout the state of Arizona, including Gov. Ducey to speak out and let the people of Arizona know where he stands on Donald Trump’s offensive remarks to the Latino community. He governs a state where nearly a third of the state is Latino.
"Governor Ducey, where are you? Why are you so quiet? … Senator John McCain, who has said he would endorse Donald Trump, where are you on these remarks?"
Gallardo said, "I would imagine the people of Arizona aren’t going to sit quietly. They’re going to let their voices be heard loud and clear to the nominee to the Republican Party and to Governor Ducey and the congressional delegation that Trump isn’t welcome."
Trump said last week that the U.S.-born judge overseeing a court case involving Trump University is biased against him because of the judge's Mexican ancestry. On Tuesday, amid withering criticism, Trump said in a statement that his remarks were “misconstrued.”
Trump’s three previous Arizona campaign appearances have drawn thousands of supporters to largely peaceful gatherings where he delivered his populist pitch on topics from the economy to illegal immigration while extolling his standing in the polls.
Trump probably will be joined at next week's event by state Treasurer Jeff DeWit and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, both of whom pledged their support to Trump early in the campaign. Former Gov. Jan Brewer, whom Trump has suggested could make his vice presidential short list, is also expected to appear with him, as well as state party Chairman Robert Graham, who is helping to organize the rally.
The top Republican state official, Ducey, has been conspicuously absent from Trump’s prior appearances but is now preaching GOP unity and is a delegate to this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
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