Trump and Me: Why Latinos Want Results, Not Fine Talk

Trump and Me: Why Latinos Want Results, Not Fine Talk
AP Photo/Andres Leighton
Trump and Me: Why Latinos Want Results, Not Fine Talk
AP Photo/Andres Leighton
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My interaction with President Trump at his Monday night rally in New Mexico generated national headlines as mainstream media tried, once again, to smear the president as racist. Before Trump’s speech, I addressed that same Rio Rancho audience and told of my first visit to the Oval Office shortly after Trump was sworn in as commander-in-chief. As I walked into that hallowed room, I thought of my deceased immigrant father and hoped he could see that his son had become a confidant of the president of his adopted homeland, the United States. The first thing the newly inaugurated president mentioned to me: “Steve, what can I do for Hispanic Americans?”

I responded that small business represented the most immediate opportunity. While a thriving small business sector of course benefits Americans of every color and creed, Hispanics benefit disproportionately because we are, statistically, by far the most entrepreneurial demographic in America. Indeed, a primary driver of surging Latino wages in our country emanates from the renaissance in small business spurred by the badly needed tax and regulatory relief of the Trump economic boom.

But instead of focusing on the clear and measurable improvements Hispanics enjoy under the leadership of President Trump, media figures chose instead to focus on his comments to me from the rally podium and, per usual, twisted his words to fit their biased, predetermined narratives. First, the president teased me, as he had done several times privately before, that I look too WASP-like to be Hispanic. So-called journalists erupted with condemnation, consistent with their commitment to outrage culture. To these critics, I channel Sgt. Hulka from the movie “Stripes” and advise them to “lighten up, Francis.” The president was clearly roasting me, poking fun that I normally dress like an old-school New York banker. All in good fun, and the nattering ninnies do not get to claim outrage on my behalf.

Trump then remarked about how much I love Hispanics and asked me, admittedly in awkward fashion, if I loved Hispanics or America more. It was clear in context that he meant to highlight that I love both so much, I would be hard-pressed to pick. But, again, the humorless media critics howled with indignation, completely missing the point of the president’s remarks.

I did, in fact, answer his question that night in New Mexico. Of course, I love America more, as should any citizen who can rightly cherish their particular ethnicity but still cling most forcefully to the common bonds of American nationalism. Such dual truths represent the heart of “E Pluribus Unum.”

In the case of Hispanic citizens, the data reveal that this president’s policies create the conditions for previously unattainable prosperity and security for our communities. In fact, the Washington Post recently detailed the incredible explosion of jobs for minorities. In total, of the 5.2 million new jobs created since the end of 2016, an astounding 4.5 million of them went to Americans of color. Moreover, minorities are not just finding new jobs, but also better paying ones, as Hispanic incomes have surged 8% since Trump’s election. As I often state on air, if President Trump is a racist, he’s remarkably bad at it!

In my Tuesday night discussion with my CNN colleague Chris Cuomo, he resuscitated a familiar media smear of the president: that he somehow disrespects Latinos by talking and acting tough on the border. But of course, illegal migration is not a racial issue at all, it’s a legal one. The United States has dozens of legal processes through which foreigners can apply for citizenship. Ignoring those rules and trespassing across our border is not only irresponsible, it’s also morally wrong and — more importantly — it’s against the law. Calling people racists for believing that this country should enforce its reasonable laws is ludicrous and dangerous. 

Contrary to the assumptions of liberal media, Hispanic Americans actually appreciate the president’s fight to stop illegal immigration. Ensconced elitist media liberals wrongly assume that Hispanics espouse softness on immigration illegality.  In reality, a 2018 YouGov/Economist poll detailed that only 20% of Hispanics support the practice of “catch and release” of families crossing our border illegally. Indeed, Hispanic Americans often suffer the worst, most immediate consequences of porous borders.  Too often, Hispanic workers must compete against unfair, illegal labor.  In addition, dangerous illegal aliens largely terrorize Hispanic citizens. The tragic tales of MS-13 savagery, for example, normally involve Hispanic victims such as Carlos Rivas-Majano, one of 27 people killed by the gang on Long Island, N.Y., in just the past three years.

While elites like wannabe-Hispanic Robert Francis O’Rourke pontificate about open borders and tearing down existing border walls, the actual on-the-ground consequences flow to people with names like Hernandez, Cabrera, and Cortes. Hispanic Americans have suffered too many totally preventable losses, such as Arizona police Sgt. Brandon Mendoza and young Los Angeles mother Sandra Duran, both killed by illegal aliens living in America despite multiple prior arrests in the United States.    

Nonetheless, as my TV interview demonstrated, the mainstream media remains obsessed with finding nefarious hidden meanings behind virtually all of the president’s words and actions. But Hispanic Americans care about kitchen table issues, not politically motivated cries of “racism.” We do not need politicians who speak delicately yet fail to deliver tangible results. We care about the safety and prosperity that President Trump has delivered and we will use the ballot box in 2020 to ensure more to come.

Steve Cortes is a contributor to RealClearPolitics and a CNN  political commentator. His Twitter handle is @CortesSteve.

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