A top aide to Donald Trump told Yahoo! News that Latinos who dislike the GOP presidential frontrunner “aren’t even here legally,” can’t vote and therefore won’t affect his standing in the polls.
In an article published Thursday exploring Trump’s efforts to win over black voters, Michael Cohen, executive vice president and general counsel at the Trump Organization, admitted that the billionaire’s presidential campaign was unlikely to have much success with Latino voters.
“I am mindful of the fact that, you know, there are coalitions and I’m talking about now like Hispanic coalitions that…will not support Trump,” Cohen said. “And that’s okay because the ones that don’t like Trump aren’t even here legally and they can’t vote, so it doesn’t really matter, right? And I understand their point of view. They’re—they do not want to be asked to leave right? And go back where? Go back to their homes? You know they don’t want to. So I understand.”
Trump has raised the ire of Latinos on both sides of the aisle for his pointed remarks about immigrants from Central America. After kicking off his presidential campaign by accusing Mexicans of being “rapists” and drug dealers, Trump has proposed eliminating birthright citizenship, forcing Mexico to pay for a 1900-mile border wall and forcibly deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
Cohen’s suggestion that only immigrants without papers dislike his candidate is complicated by the fact that Trump’s policies have been condemned by major advocacy groups like the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda and the conservative National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. In August, Trump publicly dismissed one of the most popular Latino journalists, Jorge Ramos, from a campaign event, telling him to “go back to Univision.”
His polling among U.S. Latinos has consistently trailed that of other Republican candidates. In an October Associated Press-GfK poll, 72 percent said they view Trump unfavorably.
Still, Trump has publicly claimed that he has the support of Latinos across the country, telling NBC in July, “They love me, I love them. And I’ll tell you something, if I get the nomination, I’ll win the Latino vote.”
His campaign has acknowledged that minority voters will be critical to gaining the nomination.
As Cohen told Yahoo! News, “You can’t win a general election if your mindset is on the Southern white Christian coalition. You need them, but you need the minority communities as well.”