By Celia Camacho and Maria Lourdes Hercules
June 2, 2016
Leaders of a bipartisan group that aims to build up the image of Hispanics in America are tearing down Donald Trump and urging Hispanic voters to help defeat the Republican presidential candidate.
Sol Trujillo, a Republican businessman from California, and Henry Cisneros, a former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Clinton, said it's too late for Trump to turn things around and improve his standing with Hispanic voters in time for the November election. The pair co-founded the Latino Donor Collaborative to educate people about the economic contributions of Hispanics in the U.S.
Trujillo told USA TODAY that Trump's campaign has been "bad for our country" and worried about a GOP candidate winning by "damaging" huge swaths of the population.
The real estate mogul has said Mexico is sending rapists and drug dealers to the U.S., claimed that undocumented immigrants commit more crimes than native-born Americans and guaranteed he could do a better job than New Mexico's Republican governor, Susana Martinez, the nation's first Hispanic female governor.
Trujillo cited Trump's attacks on Martinez, who also chairs the Republican Governors Association, as an example of a campaign that is only alienating Hispanic voters.
"Think about a woman who became the first elected Latina governor in the history of the United States ... who has done a really good job as a governor of an important state in our country, and attacking her. From my perspective, it makes no sense," Trujillo said.
Cisneros said Trump's attacks ignore the growing size of the Hispanic population. GOP nominee Mitt Romney lost in 2012, in part, because he won only 27% of the Hispanic population. Romney lost Hispanic support after he suggested that undocumented immigrants should be treated so poorly that they choose to "self-deport" to their home countries.
Trump has taken an even harder line, saying that all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the USA should be deported and that a massive wall should be built along the entire southern border — paid for by Mexico.
"I do not think it's smart politics," Cisneros told USA TODAY.
Both men said Trump's focus on illegal immigration misses a broader point about the nation's 55 million Hispanics: they care about things in addition to immigration.
Cisneros said Hispanics care deeply about education and business, noting the ethnic group's growing economic clout.
"(And) we have Donald Trump talking about deportations," Cisneros said. "This is not healthy. This is not good for the country, not good for the economy."
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