At The RNC, A Pattern Of Departures Of African-American and Latino Staff

June 2, 2016 12:48 p.m.

The departure Wednesday of the Republican National Committee’s Hispanic media director is just the most recent in a string of top-ranking minority officials leaving the RNC as Trump has risen to be the party’s nominee.

Just three years after the RNC released its so-called autopsy report, which urged Republicans to expand their outreach efforts with minority communities and finally contend with big-ticket legislation like immigration reform, the RNC is finding its best efforts complicated by its own presumptive nominee, a candidate who tweets out pandering photos of taco salads on Cindo de Mayo and calls for millions of undocumented immigrants to be deported. Last week, he publicly denounced the judge in case against the Trump University case, claiming the Indiana-born jurist with Hispanic ancestry was “Mexican.”

The RNC’s Hispanic media director Ruth Guerra announced she was leaving the committee on Wednesday, and she was replaced by former Jeb Bush adviser Helen Aguirre Ferré.

Guerra told the New York Times that she was moving on to take a position at American Action Network, a superPAC focused on congressional races. Yet, according to staffers who spoke with the New York Times on background, Guerra was “uncomfortable working for Mr. Trump.”

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Guerra is just the most recent in a string of high-profile departures for the RNC.

Orlando Watson served as the RNC’s communications director for African-American media, but Watson left the RNC in March after just over two years in his role. Watson was often credited with expanding and repairing relationships between Republicans and African-American journalists. NBC News reported at the time of his departure that Watson had “spent considerable energy not only forwarding the party’s talking points but informing Black reporters of the GOP’s activities, strategies, and news when it came to African-American communities.”

According to the Root, Watson departed to pursue a graduate degree.

Kristal Quarker-Hartsfield also announced she was leaving the RNC in March. She served as the national director for for African American strategies and outreach, but left in April to take a job with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

At the time of her departure, NBC News reported that her colleagues noted that it was the lure of a more senior position that took her away from the RNC.

Quarker-Hartsfield did not be return TPM’s request for comment.

In 2015, Raffi Williams served as the deputy press secretary at the RNC and left to take a job “in media,” NBC News reported. Williams told the Huffington Post that his reason for leaving had nothing to do with Trump.

“I left because I was just ready for something new. They were good to me, they treated me very well and I have no complaints about the place,” he told the Huffington Post. “I think it’s a part of the natural cycle of the RNC. People come and go.”

Tara Wall also left in 2015. She served as the senior strategist for media at the RNC and left the party in November. According to BuzzFeed, she had previously worked for Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012 and has her own production company Princess Tara Productions.

In a statement to TPM, Wall said that she left to spend more time on her production company.

“Back in October, I let Reince know in advance that I would be resigning as Senior Media Strategist to resume full-time work with my production company and focus on what I’ve been most passionate about for the bulk of my career as a journalist – storytelling,” Wall said in an email Wednesday.

BuzzFeed reported that the RNC had replaced her with Lucas Boyce, another African-American strategist who had previously worked for the Orlando Magic as a legislative affairs director.

The RNC did not return a request for comment as of press time.

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