ORLANDO — “ I’m from Mexico. I know what corruption is, and I smell it from miles away,” Martha Coronel said as she waved a pink Women for Trump flag.
The Orlando-area realtor, 50, had joined other supporters of President Trump outside a stadium where former President Barack Obama spoke in support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday, with the aim of countering his message.
Hispanic and Latino voters are critical to President Trump’s path to victory in must-win Florida, and those do support the president say that Democrats just don’t understand them.
Wilson Valdivia, a Peruvian American, held a “Latinos for Trump” sign, along with a handmade sign that read, “Love Trump.”
“I am not Republican. I’m independent, but I do support Donald Trump,” said Valdivia, 55, adding that he might vote for Democrats in down-ballot races. “I believe in all lives matter, not just ‘this race matters.’”
Supporters of Biden posted up outside the stadium while Obama spoke were peeved at the Trump supporters for being there — and for supporting Trump as Latinos.
Sonny Emsley, 73 and also a realtor, walked up as Coronel was speaking to the Washington Examiner and interrupted: “Latinos for caged children.”
Coronel fired back — “2014 Obama,” she said. That year, a wave of unaccompanied migrant children created a crisis, and photos showed children held in chain-link cells operated by the Obama administration. “Trump loves you too,” she added after Emsley noted her lack of mask-wearing.
That’s just about where Trump was with support from Hispanic and Latino voters in the 2016 election in Florida, according to exit polls. Trump’s Hispanic and Latino support in Florida, both in the 2016 results and in 2020 polls, exceeds his support nationally.
Trump’s campaign does not expect to win a majority of Latino voters, but increasing his vote share among those voters is critical to victory. The magic number to ensure a likely victory is about 40% Latino support — a number that Trump adviser Jason Miller has said he expects to reach nationally.
Hispanic and Latino voters make up about 26% of the Florida population, and Republicans see an opportunity to appeal to immigrants and their families who came to the United States seeking to make a better life in more favorable economic conditions.
That economic message appealed to Valdivia. “Most of us are tired of this ‘made in China,’ and he said he will bring most of the U.S. companies back to his country to create more labor to create more work,” he said.
Same for Coronel. “I love Trump because he is for free enterprise. He’s not a communist that is going to take our hard work,” she said.
Biden supporters assumed that the Trump-loving Latinos were ignorant of the truth.
Emsley said that Trump has “convinced the Latinos and Hispanics that socialism is not good” by erroneously making it synonymous with communism.
Daphne Garcia, a 27-year-old Biden supporter who is of Puerto Rican heritage, said that she “hated” seeing those in the “Latinos for Trump” crowd and that they were “probably confused” and didn’t have their facts straight.
“Latinos are not for Trump. We are very strong people, and we don’t believe in locking kids in cages or supporting someone who doesn’t support us,” said Garcia.
“I’m sorry — Latinx,” Garcia corrected, using the gender-neutral term that 76% of Latino adults have not heard of, according to the Pew Research Center . “My sister likes to fix me on that.”
And they were unable to rebut the Trump supporters’ arguments. Asked about his earlier confrontation with Coronel and her firing back that Obama built cages for migrant children, Emsley said, “I doubt that Obama built those cages. That’s another lie. All they do is lie all Trump does is lie, so who knows.” (The Obama administration did approve and build chain-link holding centers during the 2014 child migrant crisis.)
Valdivia said that Biden supporters are the uninformed ones. “They show no education, and they are very aggressive.”
Author: Emily Larsen, Political Reporter
Source: Washington Examiner: Latinos for Trump rile up and baffle Biden supporters in must-win Florida