A Honduran immigrant who was spit on by a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally last month says that he was terrified, but decided to stay because he wanted to stand up for his fellow Latinos.
Ronald Sánchez, who in the U.S. on a work permit, was so angry by Trump’s comments about immigration that he and his wife decided to make their voice heard at the candidate’s rally at the Richmond International Raceway, in Virginia.
The couple, who joined a group of protesters from Virginia Commonwealth University, said they felt the hostility from the pro-Trump crowd long before they entered the rally. The 30-year-old Sánchez has lived in the U.S. for 14 years and works as a technician at Hilliard Automotive in Richmond.
"All the way that we are walking through the line and ... people were already looking at us like, man. Like it was awful," Sánchez told Business Insider. "I mean it was the first time I ever felt that here in the United States, to be honest with you."
Sánchez and the group from VCU began chanting "dump Trump, dump Trump," when the billionaire began speaking about building a border wall and deporting all undocumented immigrants. Security quickly began to round up the protesters and Sanchez said Trump supporters began shouting, "Go back to Mexico. You shouldn't be here. This is our country."
After revealing a T-shirt in which he had written that Trump was a "puto" ("male prostitute"), security guards told Sánchez and his wife that they had to leave.
Unnerved by the growing tension in the crowd, Sánchez said he asked a security guy to make sure no one touched his wife or him as they were being escorted out. But out of nowhere, an angry Trump supporter rushed at Sánchez.
"He was charging me with intention of hitting me," Sánchez said. "One of the videos showed me saying 'do not touch me, do not touch me.' That’s when he was talking crap and cursing at me ... I responded and said 'I pay taxes just like you do here', and that’s when he spit on my face."
While Sánchez said he wanted to hit the man, he restrained himself by thinking about his family and how that action would play into the negative stereotype about Latinos.
"If I would’ve hit this guy, I would’ve lost the whole purpose of me being there," he said. "(Which was to) show the whole world Latinos are not here to destroy this country, we’re here to build it."
Sánchez added that he filed a police report but without the name of his assailant there isn’t much the police can do. Still, Sánchez added that it feels good to hear people voice their support for him after the video went viral.
"People kind of started respecting me a little more and saying 'thank you for what you did cause that’s not easy'," he said. "Telling me 'you did right.'"