Barbershop: Trump's Comments And Latinos
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Now it's time for the Barbershop. That's where we gather a group of interesting folks to talk about what's in the news and what's on their minds. Sitting in the chairs for a shape-up this week are Linda Chavez. She's a former Reagan administration official. She currently chairs the Center for Equal Opportunity. That's a nonprofit public policy research group - a think tank, if you will. It tends to lean center-right. Linda, thank you so much for joining us.
LINDA CHAVEZ: Great to be with you.
MARTIN: Denise Galvez is a co-founder of Latinas for Trump. Denise, welcome to you. Thank you so much for joining us.
DENISE GALVEZ: Thank you for having me.
MARTIN: And last, but certainly not least, Gustavo Arellano. He's author of two books. He's writer of the syndicated column Ask A Mexican. He joins us from Irvine, Calif. Welcome back, Gustavo. Thank you so much for joining us.
GUSTAVO ARELLANO: Hola, Michel, always.
MARTIN: So we wanted to start with a story that, frankly, a lot of people thought would be over by now, and that's Monday's debate. There were a lot of memorable exchanges, but one that stands out was when Hillary Clinton raised a few of Donald Trump's past comments about women. And she particularly drilled down on Trump's treatment of the former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado. I think we have that clip. I think we'll play it.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
HILLARY CLINTON: One of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them. And he called this woman Miss Piggy. Then he called her Miss Housekeeping because she was Latina.
MARTIN: So, again, this was Monday which is a lifetime ago in a political year. But then on Friday morning, Donald Trump unleashed a flurry of furious tweets doubling down calling Miss Machado disgusting and a number of other things - the worst ever and so on. So, Denise Galvez, I have to ask - what do you think about that?
GALVEZ: You know what? I'll tell you what I've told everybody. I think that Alicia Machado should have stayed anonymous. I think she's trying to capitalize on a few moments of fame and being an opportunist, and I'm not even going to get into her history. Everybody can look it up. It's been talked about. I personally don't like pageants or would - and would never put myself in a pageant. But she did, and so by doing that, she chose to be objectified. And she chose to be judged by her looks and her appearances by contract. So to me it's a non-issue. And I will not justify her comments.
MARTIN: What about your nominee's comments? I mean, he's running for president. She's not.
GALVEZ: I know. To be honest, I wish she would just like drop it and just stick to, you know, what's important and why most of us are supporting him has nothing to do with that. We're supporting him because we agree with him on most of his policies. We're supporting him because he plans to make this country safe, and we care about the security of our families and our homes. We agree with him on the border, you know - all that stuff. Actually, his - the polls show, you know, he's still doing well.
MARTIN: All right. We're going to talk about that in a minute. We'll talk about the polls in a minute. But, Linda Chavez, let me go to you. You are a Republican. You've been a Republican for years. As I mentioned, you served in the Reagan administration. You were a U.S. Senate candidate on the Republican ticket. You were nominated for a cabinet post in another GOP administration. Now, you have been writing some fairly critical pieces about Donald Trump on policy issues. But I do want to ask you what about this?
CHAVEZ: Well, I disagree with him on immigration policy, first and foremost. But, like Denise, you know, I like his tax policy better than I like Hillary Clinton's. But there is no way in the world that I will vote for Donald Trump precisely because of the kinds of activities and the statements that he has made about Alicia Machado. I mean, this man has no control over his mouth.
CHAVEZ: You know, I wish I could vote for the Republican nominee this time. I have voted Republican since 1980. The last Democrat I voted for for president was Hubert Humphrey in 1968. And yet, this year, I am not going to be able to vote for Donald Trump because I think, quite frankly, he's vile.
MARTIN: So, Gustavo, you tell us that you're undecided in this election. Do I have that right?
ARELLANO: Yeah. I don't know if in California there is a peace and freedom candidate anymore like the Communist Party out there, but I'll probably vote for them. Nowhere on Earth am I ever going to vote for Trump. I have said for years and years and years I would not vote for Hillary Clinton, and I'm going to stick by that only because I don't believe in dynasties in American politics. My - you know, my family came from Mexico from Latin America where we basically created the strong man, and, you know, dynasty politics, so I just can't stand by that.
MARTIN: So a lot of people I think assumed that Donald Trump would have a hard time persuading voters of Latino heritage to support him anyway, given his comments about Mexico and Mexican immigrants, which I don't think we need to repeat. I think we all know what he said. Then he had his meeting with the Mexican president Pena Nieto and then he doubled down on this deportation force idea, saying he would even reverse the Obama administration Deferred Action for kids who were brought here as children.
Now, I'm looking at the latest averages from Real Clear Politics. It has Trump at 26 percent among Latinos, and I have to ask how you see that number. Do we see that number as shockingly low or should we be surprised that it's so high? Gustavo, would you want to start this round?
ARELLANO: I think it's a little bit higher than it should be. That said, you know, there are - gosh, Linda and so many other pundits have been saying forever there is a good conservative streak in Latinos, whether you're Mexicano, whether your Cubano, whether you're a Central or South American, there is that conservativism almost - that's part and parcel with Latino immigrants in the United States. People are especially, I think, a lot of Latinos, they are drawn to strong-man candidates, the caudillo, the man on horseback. They see someone like Trump, and they like that.
They like a man who, you know, tells it how it is. Trump is machismo writ large, and, frankly, he shouldn't be running for president. He should be taking over "Sabado Gigante." There, he would be perfect, and he'd have so many Latino fans. It would be crazy. Even before he ran for president, he had a lot of Latino fans. He's been a presence in American pop culture for 20 some years. Of course, all of that said, he throws all of that goodwill away the minute he starts opening his mouth about immigration.
MARTIN: Denise, do you want to...
GALVEZ: But you're generalizing.
GALVEZ: You're generalizing so much about Latinos. I'm sorry. You're saying we all love him because he's machista. How about the fact that we love him because he's anti-establishment? That's the number one reason why people love him.
MARTIN: Denise, can I ask you why do you support him? What's your number one reason for supporting him?
GALVEZ: The number one reason is, like I told you, because when it comes to policy and my conservative views, he is more aligned with what I believe in should be the direction of this country. I do not want Hillary Clinton under any condition choosing my next Supreme Court justice.
MARTIN: Well, Linda, how about you? As a person who your number one - number one you work with data and number two you've been a candidate yourself at a high level - how do you read his standing among Latino voters so far - or so far identified Latino voters?
CHAVEZ: I'm not so surprised that it's as high as it is. As I've been writing, and, as Gustavo mentioned, for many years - 30 years or more - I've been talking about the fact that you have anywhere between 30 and 45 percent of Latino voters who vote Republican at the national level or vote for Republican candidates at the state level. It is a conservative community. So if Trump were simply out there promoting his policies, I could understand it.
But even on the immigration issue, what shocked me most when he gave that speech in Arizona was that he didn't just double down on deportation. He also wants to stop legal immigration to the United States. He wants to go back to a time when we have country quotas, and it does surprise me that Latinos are not more focused on the fact that he doesn't just want to deport people who are here illegally. He wants to stop people from coming here legally because that's been very much a part of his platform from day one. You can go onto his website and read it.
GALVEZ: Again, not true...
MARTIN: Go ahead, Denise.
GALVEZ: But, anyways...
MARTIN: I mean, it seems to me that he gave a very extensive speech on this in Phoenix, and I think that he laid out his perspective on this very clearly.
GALVEZ: Yes, he did, and it was a 10-point plan. And she just talked about point number 10 and skipped one through nine where he talked about first and foremost criminals, visa overstays, public charges - like none of that was mentioned in her explanation of his immigration policy, and that's not fair.
MARTIN: If you don't mind, I want to finish on a slightly lighter topic, if that's OK...
MARTIN: ...Because this weekend kicks off the 42nd season of "Saturday Night Live," and it's not - so even though it's a comedy show, it is not without drama because one of the three new cast members Melissa Villasenor is Latina. She's being celebrated for that. This cast has had very few people of Latino heritage either male or female. She's Mexican-American, but now somebody figured out that she has steadily since she's been named to this job has been deleting some 2,000 tweets which a lot of people find offensive. I'm trying to find one that I feel I could read on the air. Let me think...
ARELLANO: Do the one about the...
MARTIN: Here's one. Jolly black people..
ARELLANO: Yeah, OK.
GALVEZ: The PG-13...
MARTIN: The PG-13 - OK. Well, here's one. (Reading) Jolly black people are the best. Just laugh with one right now.
There was one about - I can't do that one - can't do that one.
MARTIN: All right. (Reading) Co-worker at Forever 21 dates black guys, and she said she'll set me up on a blind date for Valentine's. I said yes, but I'm scared.
OK. So, anyway, all right. Gustavo, you're kind of our culture guy, first of all...
MARTIN: What do you think?
ARELLANO: Twitter nowadays for comedians. It's like the writers' room. You're - anything goes. That said, though, if you're going to say those things, then stand by them. Locking her account to be private and then her deleting those things - that to me - I want to know what's going on with her. She should be able to stand by that, at the very least say, hey, you know what? These tweets were done five years ago when I was nobody. I apologize to anyone who I have hurt, but she's not even doing that. When asked for comment, both her and "Saturday Night Live" said we're not going to issue a comment on that. That's not good.
MARTIN: Linda, what about you? Do you care?
CHAVEZ: You know, in terms of ethnic humor, I mean - humor - you don't want it to be hateful. You don't want it to be ugly. But on the other hand, if we can't sort of laugh at ourselves, if we can't laugh at others, you know, we've gotten way, way, way too sensitive. I haven't read all of her tweets, so I'm not going to stand up and defend each and every one of them. But, you know, comedy requires being able to laugh at the stuff that sometimes, you know, we don't want to laugh about. And that's what makes things, you know - that's what makes humor.
MARTIN: Well, here's one. (Reading) I hate those Mexicans on bikes. They threw something at my car. The world doesn't need them.
Is that funny?
ARELLANO: Equal opportunity offender - that's not funny. That's why when I try to do humor on my Twitter account I just retweet crying Jordan memes.
CHAVEZ: I hate all people on bikes because I'm not in good enough shape to be on one. So...
GALVEZ: I mean, to be honest, I posted something today for the first time on Twitter, and it was supposed to be a play on words - like I think I put it's not over 'til the fat lady goes to prison. And I was like literally joking, and everybody, of course, went off. Boy, did I feel the wrath.
MARTIN: OK. That was Denise Galvez. She's co-founder of Latinas for Trump. Linda Chavez was also with us, former Reagan administration official. She's the chair of the Center for Equal Opportunity and Gustavo Arellano, the writer of the syndicated column Ask A Mexican and the author of two books. They were all here with us for the Barbershop. Thank you all so much for joining us.
CHAVEZ: Great to be with you.
GALVEZ: Hasta luego. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.