Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has a reputation among his supporters of “telling it like it is,” by which they seem to mean that Trump says what’s on their minds.
If that’s what Trump is doing, he must think his supporters’ minds are filled with anti-Latino bias and bigotry. When the Latina governor of New Mexico Susana Martinez chose, for good political reasons, to skip a Trump rally, Trump went ballistic and accused her of being a terrible governor and not up to the job. He even went so far as to suggest that he would make a better governor of New Mexico, presumably in addition to being President.
Then at a news conference devoted entirely to whining about how unfairly the news media treat him, Trump singled out two Hispanic television reporters, ABC’s Tom Llamas and CNN’s Jim Acosta, for special opprobrium calling Llamas “a sleaze” and Acosta “a real beauty.”
Most recently he accused the Indiana-born federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is hearing a fraud case against so-called Trump University, of being biased because of Curiel’s Mexican heritage. Trump continued to call Curiel a Mexican even after being repeatedly corrected. The attack on Judge Curiel seemed to be the drop that made glass overflow, to use the Spanish version of the saying. Prominent Republicans, even the ethically challenged Newt Gingrich, hurried to condemn the attack on the judge, or at least distance themselves from it. Somehow Trump hasn’t internalized the need to broaden the GOP’s appeal to the ever growing Latino voting bloc.
Ana Navarro, a Latina Republican strategist and CNN commentator has said, “If you’re a Hispanic holding your breath and hoping for Donald Trump to get better in his outreach to Latinos, you’re going to die of asphyxia.”
It’s not hard to imagine what’s on many Republicans’ minds:
“How is it possible that we’ve nominated this lunatic?”
“I wish he would shut the fuck up.”
“Can this get any worse?”
“Will we lose the House and the Senate as well as the presidency?”
The Trump candidacy has introduced a crude openness into American political discourse, and he isn’t the only one who’s telling it like it is. No doubt expressing what many of his constituents are thinking, Texas Democratic Congressman Filemon Vela has written an open letter to Donald Trump in which he says:
“Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass.”
It’s a nice image.