After Speech, Trump Loses Key Texas Hispanic Backer
by Patrick Svitek
The Texas Tribune
Sept. 1, 2016
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has lost a key Hispanic supporter in Texas — and deeply disappointed others — after his speech Wednesday night on immigration.
Houston immigration lawyer Jacob Monty said early Thursday morning that he had decided not only to resign from Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Council but also to stop raising money for the nominee in Texas. Politico first reported Monty was leaving the group, which has five other members from Texas.
Some Hispanic Republicans, including Monty, had hoped Trump would use his speech to outline a more thoughtful approach to the millions of people who are already in the country illegally. Instead, Trump stuck with the hardline views that got him through the primaries, appearing to back little away from his pledge to deport many people who are in the United States unlawfully.
“I am very disappointed in Mr. Trump’s immigration speech,” read a statement from Rick Figueroa, a member of Trump’s Hispanic advisory group from Texas. “Instead of listening to wise counsel from his advisers and supporters in the Latino community, who actually have first hand experience in the area of immigration, he went in the opposite direction and doubled down on his policies and his rhetoric. This was a move in the wrong direction.”
Monty called the speech, which Trump delivered in Phoenix after a whirlwind trip to Mexico earlier in the day, a “complete betrayal to Republican ideals and his [commitments] made.” Monty also said the GOP “must reclaim our Party from the [nativist] elements.”
Monty had been all in for Trump, telling The Texas Tribune in an interview Monday that he was “unabashedly supporting” Trump because he believed Trump was the only candidate who could fix the immigration system. Monty was in the room earlier this month when Trump convened his Hispanic advisory council in New York, a meeting that left some with the impression he was interested in moderating his immigration beliefs.
Asked early Thursday morning if he would continue to raise money for Trump — as he has done for weeks in Houston — Monty replied: “No way Jose … it is pouring money down the drain.” He suggested he would instead focus on providing financial support for down-ballot races.
Figueroa, who helped introduce Trump at a rally last week in Austin, did not go as far as to renounce his support for Trump. In the statement, he said the GOP nominee remains a “better choice than Hillary Clinton.”
The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monty’s resignation.
Trump’s candidacy has left Hispanic Republicans in Texas in very different positions. Some, like Monty until Wednesday night, had gotten deeply involved in the campaign in hopes of influencing the nominee on issues like immigration, while others, like veteran ad maker Lionel Sosa, have decided to leave the party altogether this election cycle.
HAT TIP: Phil Sevilla