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The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Should Reject Donald Trump’s Message — And So Should All Other Latino Groups

 

The president of the nation’s largest Hispanic evangelical group is currently deciding whether or not to air a video message taped by Donald Trump for its annual conference this weekend.

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, told the Post that though he had not reached out to or spoken to anyone from the Trump campaign, he was informed earlier this week that the candidate was going to send a message to be aired at the conference.

Rev. Rodriguez “said that he will only air the presidential candidate’s video greeting if he thinks it’s conciliatory and respectful to Latinos and the nation’s immigrant community,” according to the Washington Post. “I will personally get the video and scrutinize it, of course,”  Rev. Rodriguez said.

Like millions of other Latinos around the nation and world, Rev. Rodriguez has been angered by Trump’s hateful rhetoric, saying, “I’m not endorsing Donald Trump, I’m actually very opposed to his rhetoric on most issues. At the top of the list, his rhetoric on immigrants, on immigration, is unacceptable.”

As a faith leader, Rev. Rodriquez said: “I’m a pastor so I want to hear you out…I want to be able to speak to you and see if there’s a chance to change your heart and mind.”

But, with all due respect, Rev. Rodriguez and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference should reject Donald Trump’s video message — and so should any other Latino groups during the course of this Presidential election.

No matter what conciliatory words Trump attempts in this video message or any other messages directed at Latino and immigrant groups, it can never erase the past 11 months of hateful, incendiary rhetoric directed at our communities.

When Donald Trump launched his Presidential campaign last June by calling Mexican immigrants criminals and “rapists,” he not only refused to back down from his racist accusations, he doubled-down on them again and again.

Additionally:

  • Trump praised “Operation Wetback” with promises to round-up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants from the United States using a “Deportation Force”
  • Trump said he would pay for his border wall by despicably seizing remittances from hardworking immigrants to their families back in Mexico
  • Trump called two supporters recently sentenced to prison for brutally assaulting a Mexican immigrant in Boston “passionate”

We’ve collected at least two dozen other despicable quotes and stances from Trump here.

Several other prominent Latino evangelical leaders have already offered sharp rebukes of Donald Trump and his hate.

“As Latino evangelicals, we will not sit idly by nor support Mr. Trump or any other candidate who uses xenophobic demagoguery, misogynistic language, or uncivil discourse as part of their political speech,” said Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero, President of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. “The gospel demands that we speak up, and we will.”

Noel Castellanos, President and CEO of the Christian Community Development Association, said that he stands “with respected leaders of the Latino Evangelical community to denounce the politics of hate as offering no hope for the future for our nation.”

“Instead, we expect that our political discourse be conducted in a manner of respect, and that leaders who aspire to guide our nation be held accountable for their inflammatory rhetoric aimed at Mexicans, Muslims and women. We must say no to hate in our pulpits and we must say no to hate in the polling booths!”

The writer and poet Maya Angelou once said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Donald Trump has shown us who he is, and we believe him. He is someone whose only interest has been to harm our Latino and immigrant communities for his political gain.

In the White House, a President Trump would only stand to bring horrific pain upon millions of our family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and other loved ones, not to mention the millions of Muslim-Americans, African-Americans, and other minority groups who would suffer under his authoritarian regime.

As a result, new polling has shown that a full 87% of Latino voters have either a “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable opinion of the Republican nominee. When 57% of Latino voters know someone who is undocumented, and one-third know someone who has faced deportation or detention, Trump’s attacks are personal.

Donald Trump likes to brag that he’s really good at “making deals.” But this is one deal that the Latino and immigrant communities must refuse him. The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and other Latino groups should reject Donald Trump’s message, and work to ensure that his dangerous vision for America is resoundly rejected this November.