Donald Trump Postpones Meeting with Hispanic Leaders in Miami

By: Beth Reinhard

Newly minted Republican nominee Donald Trump has postponed meeting with Hispanic leaders in Miami on Tuesday because several key participants are unavailable, according to the campaign.

The postponement comes on the heels of a national convention that showcased few Latinos but a lot of angry rhetoric about illegal immigration.

The most prominent Hispanic speaker on stage, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, notably declined to endorse Mr. Trump, his former rival for the nomination. Mr. Cruz was booed by delegates for withholding his support.

Another one of Mr. Trump’s former opponents, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is Cuban-American, spoke via video at the convention.

Mr. Trump was supposed to meet with Hispanic leaders in Miami earlier this month but cancelled the event because it was scheduled the day after the shootings of police officers in Dallas. The group spoke by phone with campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Mr. Trump received only 14% of the Hispanic vote in the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, compared to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 76%.

The lopsided support for Mrs. Clinton could put swing states with large Hispanic populations like Florida, Colorado and Nevada out of reach for Mr. Trump in November.

Last week’s national convention was a missed opportunity for the Trump campaign to reach out to Hispanic voters, said Daniel Garza, executive director of the LIBRE Intitiative, a nonpartisan Hispanic advocacy group.

At the 2012 convention for Mitt Romney, the lineup included Mr. Cruz, Mr. Rubio, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and then-Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuno.
“We needed to hear from more people who we could relate to and who look like we do. It was disappointing,” Mr. Garza said. “I also didn’t get the details I was looking for in policies that would generate opportunity.”

Hector Barreto, Chairman of the Latino Coalition, another nonpartisan group, called the lineup for this week’s Democratic convention an all-star group. It includes several Hispanic members of Congress.

“The message the Hispanic community is getting from the Trump campaign is, ‘I don’t need ‘em and I don’t want ‘em,’ ” he said.

One of the few Hispanic speakers on stage last week was a Ralph Alvarado, a little-known state senator and the first Hispanic elected legislator in Kentucky. In faint praise for Mr. Trump, he cast the election as a choice between “someone who is brutally honest, perhaps to a fault” and “someone who is brutally dishonest.” Mr. Alvarado only named Mr. Trump once, at the very end of his five-minute speech.

In his own remarks, Mr. Trump pointed to poverty, unemployment and stagnant wages in the Hispanic community, and he focused intensely on the potential perils of illegal immigration. Three parents whose children were killed by illegal immigrants spoke on stage the first night of the convention.

Helen Ferre, director of Hispanic communications for the Republican National Committee, noted that she did daily press briefings during the convention for Spanish-language media. As for the lack of Hispanic officeholders on stage, she said, “It’s better to have them campaigning and working hard in their districts.”

Karen Giorno, Mr. Trump’s state director for Florida, said there is a “silent majority” of Hispanic support for Mr. Trump.

“They’re Americans and they have the same concerns as every American about the safety of their family and the safety of their job,” she said.

Cited: Wall Street Journal