Following is a statement from Lynn Tramonte, Director of Ohio’s Voice.
When I first read that Governor John Kasich responded to a question about Latino voter outreach with a comment about tipping hotel workers, I thought this should be an article in The Onion, not a statement from a man who wants to be president of the United States in 2016. It turns out I was right.
In fact, The Onion imagined this very scenario playing out in Republican politics over fifteen years ago, although George W. Bush was playing the protagonist then. After leaving $20 on an $83.42 bill for his Latino waiter, fake-GW said: “This generous tip is my way of saying thank you to the Latino community for its distinguished service during the course of this lunch. It is my way of acknowledging the many valuable things America’s Hispanics bring to the table–from appetizers to drinks to main courses–which are vital to the smooth progress of our nation’s meals.”
Here’s what the real John Kasich had to say just yesterday:
“I look at our friends in the Latino community as people that ought to be voting Republican. I mean, they’re very strong family. We could all learn a little from them about the importance of family, couldn’t we? Because they are great, they are God-fearing, hard-working folks. And a lot of them do jobs that they’re willing to do. That’s why, in a hotel, you leave a little tip, you know?”
The reason the Onion spoofed this scenario—and why Kasich is getting flak for it now—is that it’s a tone-deaf attempt to praise a group of Americans that ends up being elitist and offensive instead. As Jorge-Mario Cabrera with the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) told the Los Angeles Times, “Most candidates have lopsided, stereotypical ideas about immigrants, which include the sense that immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, are only good while serving others. The comment lacks history, sense of how important immigrants are to our economy, and vision where immigrants are more than just ‘the help.’”