On October 8 2015, something radical occurred at a Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas. A Latina emerged from the masses onto his podium, and with her arms raised she yelled: "I'm Hispanic and I vote for Mr. Trump! We vote for Mr. Trump! Yes! Mr. Trump! We love you! We love you, all the way to the White House!" The world was pretty much aghast.
After every blasphemous comment Trump has uttered about Latinos, could it be possible that there are really Latinos out there who support his presidential run? To clarify, Trump has stated time and time again that he will deport millions of undocumented Latinos — because they are “rapists” and “not the best Mexicans that Mexico can offer” —and build a 1,900 mile wall long wall to keep Mexicans out. So, are there really Latinos out there that do, in fact, support Trump? Well, Myriam Witcher, the Latina in Las Vegas, was a sign that there must be some Latino Trump supporters and we wanted to find them.
We had our work cut out for us. According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 82 percent of Latinos viewed Donald Trump unfavorably, 68 percent saying “strongly so.” Who are the 18 percent of Latinos who want Trump in office?
We started with Cuban-American Michelle Esquenazi, the self-proclaimed Bail Bond Queen, who has been open about her love for Trump. Esquenazi is a long-standing Trump fan. “As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, the Trump name always screamed ‘success’ to me,” Esquenazi says. “Once I went out on my own, I decided I would read everything he wrote and try to follow his journey. I know he has the ability to turn our once-great country back to great status yet again. He’s got my vote!"
Esquenazi, whose family migrated from Cuba to the United States legally, says she is tired of “funding illegals” and calls Trump’s inflammatory comments against Latinos an honest mistake. “To people that think Trump is anti-Latino I say this: Show me any American politician that hasn’t tripped up on his or her words, or actions, from time to time. Trump screwed up, it makes him human, not anti-Latino.”
Yet, longtime journalist Jorge Ramos, whom our community trusts immensely, has become one of Trump’s most vocal opponents. He has said numerous times that the statements Trump has made are the definition of anti-Latino.
Soon after the infamous incident where Ramos was kicked out of a Trump press conference, the Univision anchor said: “He continues to say that he’s winning the Hispanic vote. That is not true. 75 percent of Latinos have a negative image of him. However, as a journalist, I have to admit that I’m still surprised. The fact is that millions of Americans believe what Donald Trump is saying and millions of Americans are supporting him. That’s the only way to explain the polls.”
We searched high and low to find more Latino Trump supporters but always came up empty. We looked on social media and did find several forums on Facebook and Twitter, but upon further inspection, it seemed a lot of these groups were bogus fronts. For example, Latinos4Trump seemed to be loaded with fake accounts, trolls, and/or non-Latinos.
Facebook also turned out to be a mess when it came to supposed Latino Trump supporters. We reached out to members of Latinos For Trump 2016,
and we couldn't tell whether the members supported Trump, were just
there to shame and criticize other members, or had joined simply to
debate each other using foul language.
There might be a Cuban contingency that supports Trump for the same reasons that Esquenazi does, however during our research they were cautious about speaking out in support of Trump because of the backlash they might face from their own Latino community.
Earlier this summer, Huffington Post spoke to a Mexican-American supporter of Trump who said she likes his ideas on closing the border and his business-savvy mentality. "With his stance on border issues, I'm in total agreement," Delilah Rodriguez said. "I feel that if anyone has the right intentions in entering our country, they're not afraid to go through the right channels."
Like most Trump supporters, Esquenazi is a conservative, which is why Trump fits the bill to "make America great again."
"A lot of it is because of what I do for a living," Esquenazi said. "Seeing how criminals get away with heinous crimes with little or no consequence in this country keeps me clear of liberal mentality. However, there is no party [that is in] line for me when it comes to human rights, gay rights, and civil rights. For me, as a Latina woman, these issues are that of common sense."
The fact is Latino Trump supporters are in the minority, but they are out there. Whether Trump wins the GOP nomination for president remains to be seen, but the Latino vote will matter in a huge way in the 2016 election no matter what.