August 22, 2016 – The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, reacting to the conflicting stories about Donald Trump and immigration after the candidate’s meeting with Hispanic supporters on Saturday.
Despite new reports from Trump that he is not, in fact, pivoting on immigration, it really doesn’t matter if he tries. He’s already defined himself with Latino voters and their allies. Since day one of his presidential campaign, Trump has made nativism the centerpiece of his campaign. He has insulted and dehumanized immigrants and Latinos in America and is now hurtling towards a historic low performance among Latino voters this November.
As a result, any possible tone change on immigration or Latinos would be less about making inroads with Latino voters and more about shoring up his appeal to wavering white voters who are rightfully turned off by a candidate running on a platform of explicit racism and bigotry. It’s both a transparent and cynical ploy and one that’s a sign of desperation from a flailing Trump campaign.
But just as Latino voters won’t buy any attempt to repackage Trump, neither should Republican and swing voters. Trump’s divisive fear-mongering has been the centerpiece of his campaign since June 2015 and a vote for Trump is a vote for racism.