Ohio Gov. John Kasich was heavily criticized recently when he inadvertently put his foot in his mouth when he after a comment that reduced Latino immigrants to a stereotype of hotel maids.
“I look at our friends in the Latino community as people (who) ought to be voting Republican,” the GOP presidential candidate said during a luncheon at a golf club in Southern California on Thursday. “They are great, caring, hardworking folks. And a lot them do jobs that they’re willing to do. That’s why, in a hotel, you leave a little tip, you know.”
During an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired on Sunday, Kasich said he understood why some people could have been offended. He said he respects Hispanics.
“I’ve always said that Hispanics are such a critical part of the fabric of the United States,” he said. “They occupy jobs from top to bottom. They’re so critical to our country.”
Kasich continued: “They’re God fearing and they’re hard working. And that means that they hold very important positions. I’ve got a friend right now who’s a doctor. He’s a doctor in oncology, you know. I mean, that shows you how crazy it can get in this business.”
“To be clear,” he said. “I believe that, from top to bottom, Hispanics play a critical role in America, not only today, but going forward.”
The governor was heavily criticized by some Latino activists in California for his comment.
"Most candidates have lopsided, stereotypical ideas about immigrants, which include the sense that immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, are only good while serving others," said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, communications director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. "[Kasich's] comment lacks history, sense of how important immigrants are to our economy and vision where immigrants are more than just 'the help.'"