A Brief Anatomy of Trump’s Latino Problem That the Mainstream Media Will Now Quickly Forget

First he came for our human rights as migrants…

Ever since Donald Trump announced that he was running for President, he had consistently targeted one demographic: Latinos. In his campaign’s opening address on June 16, 2015, Trump called for an aggressive immigration policy which sought to alienate Mexican immigrants. At the time, he stated: “they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some I assume are good people.” The problem with his statement was that he stereotyped an entire population and claimed only “some” of them were good people. Trump was off to a rocky start with the Latino community.

Then he came for our professionals…

In 2015, Trump humiliated a high-profile Latino journalist when he was challenged on his tough immigration policy. Jorge Ramos had stood up before Trump approached the podium and questioned how he would manage to deport the 11 million projected undocumented immigrants in the United States. Trump outright dismissed Ramos in a demeaning tone and ultimately had him escorted out of the press conference, where he was mocked and ridiculed by Trump’s supporters. By now, our community had been attacked for migrating to the United States, being bilingual, and pursuing the American dream as professionals.

Then he came for our culture…

During the campaign, Trump called out then Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish. He said that if Jeb was in the United States, he should speak English. Had Jeb Bush won the 2016 presidential election, his wife Columba Bush would have been the first Mexican-born American in the First Lady’s position. Of the 56.6 million Hispanics in the United States, 75% of us speak Spanish at home, despite being bilingual. Trump’s disaffection for those of us who speak Spanish began to chip away from our culture. And anyone who spoke Spanish was deemed as anti-American.

Then he mocked our history…

The Mexican community celebrates Cinco de Mayo in commemoration of the Battle of Puebla, where the Mexican Army successfully fought off the French in their unsuccessful intervention of Mexico. On May 5, 2016, Trump tweeted out a picture of him eating a “taco bowl” with the caption “Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!” By then, Trump knew he had a Latino problem but his way of fixing it was cringeworthy at best. Latino leaders and allies lashed out on Twitter and mocked his insensitive post. But did it matter?

Then he came for our heritage and judges…

Trump then had another Latino target: Judge Gonzalo Curiel of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. While battling out allegations that his previous endeavor, Trump University, was a scam, Trump targeted Judge Curiel’s heritage. According to Trump, Judge Curiel would not be able to be impartial in his decision because of his heritage. By then, almost every Latino lawyer, judge, politician, and even law student had been alienated by Trump’s racially targeted remarks. By this point, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan had said that Trump’s remarks were the textbook definition of racism.

Then he came for Latinas…

Near the end of the campaign, Trump’s misogyny also impacted Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe from Venezuela. Machado said that Trump called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping,” and Latinas around the country were disgusted.

and then there was no single Latino for his cabinet appointments

President Ronald Reagan had set the tradition since 1988 of having at least one Latino cabinet member. Every president since then has followed this tradition until now. Out of the 16 cabinet seats available to the President, not even one was allocated to a Latino under a Trump administration. Mexican American Congressmen then proceeded to boycott his inauguration and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has vowed to challenge Trump’s rhetoric on the Latino community.

Although it is uncertain what caused Mr. Trump to become so hostile to the Latino community, it is certain that we will continue to be oppressed by his policies. Latino lawmakers must stand up against Trump and take a stand when it comes to issues that affect our people. We cannot allow him to continue to discredit our community when we make up nearly 18% of the American population. It also doesn’t matter one bit if the the mainstream media and the rest of the country thinks we Latinos are being reactive or overly sensitive. We will pur our community first and we will continue to speak out.

As Americans, we should continue to resist Trump’s policies in unity because we do not know who might be next. By then, we might not even have anyone else to defend us from Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.

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Mauricio García is a Latino civil rights advocate and law student at Texas Southern University. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin. 

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