In what is being called a “slap in the face to the community,” the presumptive presidential nominees for both major political parties will not attend next week the largest annual meeting of Hispanic policy makers and officeholders in Washington, D.C.
As of Monday, neither Democrat Hillary Clinton nor Republican Donald Trump have confirmed an appearance at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) annual conference, which is expected to draw more than 1,000 people just months before a presidential election in which the Latino community is expected to play a crucial role in.
“As of today I’m not expecting the nominees to come, and frankly the reasons for them to be there are so obvious that it is truly a slap in the face to the community,” Arturo Vargas, executive director of NALEO said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “These are the people running counties and school districts and overseeing police and fire departments, and they need to hear from these candidates.”
Vargas added: “Not addressing NALEO would create the impression of them being tone-deaf.”
The NALEO meeting has been a mainstay in election years for presidential candidates hoping to win over Latino voters before November. President Barack Obama attended the meeting in 2012 and four year earlier as the presumptive Democratic nominee, and his Republican opponents John McCain and Mitt Romney also attended the meeting when they were running for the White House.
Clinton – who attended the conference in 2007, 2008 and last year – is already expected to fare well with Latino voters come November, but experts say she could use the NALEO meeting to distance herself even further from Trump, who has alienated himself from some Latinos thanks in part to his decisive rhetoric on immigration.
Lorella Praeli, who leads the Clinton campaign’s Latino outreach efforts, told the Wall Street Journal that the former Secretary of State’s “campaign will continue to ramp up efforts to engage the Latino community through various platforms, to discuss Clinton’s plans to help Latino families and highlight how Trump is temperamentally unfit to be president.”
Neither the Trump nor the Clinton campaign immediately responded to Fox News Latino’s request for comment.
According to a Fox News Latino poll released late last month, Latinos overwhelmingly support Clinton over Trump.
The poll found that 62 percent of registered Latino voters would favor Clinton in November, while only 23 percent would support Trump – a finding that many experts say is not surprising given the two candidates’ differing stances on issues important to Latinos.