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Latino activists protest at Donald Trump rally in Tampa

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As thousands of Donald Trump supporters were heading into the Florida State Fairgrounds on another hot and sticky August morning Wednesday, a group of immigration activists gathered at the sidewalk in front of the main entrance gate off of U.S. Highway 301 to denounce Trump and his statements about Mexicans and immigration.

Although new Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, hinted the GOP presidential nominee was rethinking his radical proposal to deport the approximately 11 million undocumented people in the U.S., Trump didn’t sound like he was backing down at all in his speech in Tampa. And those who gathered in Tampa weren’t buying any conversion, either.

“After spending a year of using the Latino community as inspiration for his proposals of border walls and special forces teams targeting immigrant families for deportation, Donald Trump now wants us to believe he cares about us and we should vote for him,” said Ana Lamb with LULAC 7250. “But the Latino community doesn’t forget. The Tampa community doesn’t forgive. And this November, Donald Trump will be soundly defeated at the ballot box.”

“This is not about party, it’s about people. It is no longer a philosophical issue or about a policy debate. It is about people,” said Pastor Drew Willard.

“Part of every service member’s mission is to make sure they are helping their team get back home at the end of the day and that is more important than any citizenship test or other anti-American, dog-whistle messaging Donald Trump would use to try and stop them from having the right to serve,” said Jerry Green, an Army veteran and Florida outreach director for VoteVets. “Trump knows nothing of the sacrifices of fighting, being wounded or dying for this country. He is not fit to be commander in chief.”

“God said to care for all the widows and children — he did not say from where,” said Margarita Romo with Farmworker Self-Help. “People will always find a way to get over or around a wall. We believe that we must care for the least of us.”

In his speech in Tampa, Trump once again called on Hispanics (and blacks) to give his candidacy a second chance. It comes some 14 months after his incendiary comments that Mexico was sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

In his Wednesday speech, Trump said, “to those suffering and hurting and the people left behind, I say: Vote for Donald Trump,” as the crowd cheered. “What do you have to lose? It cannot get any worse, and believe me, I’m going to fix it, I’m going to make it so good. So, to the African-American vote, great people. To the Hispanic vote, who have absolutely been treated terribly, I say, what do you have to lose?”

And about the Hispanic vote and Hillary Clinton, Trump said, “once she gets your vote … you know what she does, bye-bye folks, see you in four years.”

According to the latest NBC News/Survey Monkey weekly election poll,  Trump is behind among Hispanic voters with 22 percent compared to 73 percent who support Clinton.

 

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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