PHOENIX — Betty and Jorge Rivas are an immigrant couple and the owners Sammy’s Mexican Grill in Catalina, Arizona, a Tucson bedroom community.
Last month, Betty and Jorge joined a Donald Trump campaign rally in Phoenix, getting to stand behind the president in the VIP section. As the president delivered his remarks, there was Betty cheering and donning a red cowboy hat adorned with the slogan: “Latinos Love Trump.” Jorge was also there. He wore his blue “Trump-Pence” cap.
A screenshot of the couple posted on Facebook was shared hundreds of times, drawing a swarm of mostly negative comments.
Betty and Jorge soon responded to the postings with a video titled, “Won’t be Intimidated! TRUMP 2020.”
In the video, Jorge, delivering his comments in English, says, “I feel as a naturalized United States citizens we have the right to support President Trump… Just because we are Latinos, it doesn’t mean we have to think like every other Latino in this country.”
Speaking in Spanish, Betty told Trump critics they should leave the country.
“If those who are attacking us don’t like the president, don’t like Donald Trump, and don’t like what’s happening here,” she said, “then go someplace where you like the president.”
Jorge echoed his wife’s advice, “So, if you don’t like it, find somewhere else to live.”
Having heard of the social media attacks aimed at the Rivas, Trump, who’s never eaten at Sammy’s, Tweeted, “The food is GREAT…I’ll try hard to stop by the next time I am in Phoenix.”
The food is GREAT at Sammy’s Mexican Grill in Phoenix, Arizona. Congratulations to Betty & Jorge Rivas on doing such a wonderful job. I will try hard to stop by the next time I am in Phoenix. Support Sammy’s! @foxandfriends
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2020
(The restaurant is located in the Tucson area and not in the Phoenix area.)
The president’s Tweet prompted hundreds of the president’s backers to visit the restaurant and post social media comments in support of its owners.
For example, @ExDemLatina tweeted: “I’m planning a Patriots (sic) day where we all go have lunch at their place!”
LEGAL IMMIGRANTS & owners of the restaurant Sammy’s Mexican Grill are being harassed, threatened & boycotted simply because they support Pres Trump and were at Trump rally in Phx!
I’m planning a Patriots day where we all go have lunch at their place! Stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/GgiuxfyOg4
— Ex-Dem??Latina (@ExDemLatina) March 1, 2020
No word on when the pro-Trump “Patriots” lunch will be scheduled.
A Univision News poll in January found at least two-thirds of Latino voters nationwide plan to vote for a Democrat against Trump in November’s presidential election, while about 25 percent saying they will to back the president’s reelection.
James E. Garcia is a journalist, playwright and communications consultant based in Phoenix, AZ. He is the editor and publisher of Vanguardia Arizona and Vanguardia America. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets from @JG_Vanguardia.