President-elect Donald Trump’s rhetoric on immigration led to a sharp divide between him and Hispanic members of his own party.
But with Trump’s election to the White House, many of his critics now say that it is time for both sides to squash the animosity and try to mend fences.
“It is what it is, he is now the president-elect,” Rosario Marin told Fox News Latino. “The president and Congress need to understand that, for the nation to heal, all these threats from Trump can’t be put in the agenda.”
Marin – the former U.S. Treasurer under George W. Bush who famously referred to Trump as “the little orange man – said that while she is not happy with the results of the election, she is willing to work with Trump as long as he learns to compromise. She was among a few members of the GOP who ended up endorsing Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“The healing has to start with him,” she said. “If he says he wants to be the president for all Americans, then he actually needs to include everyone in the conversation.”
Marin’s message of compromise was echoed on Wednesday by numerous Hispanic Republican heavy-hitters who had previously balked at a Trump presidency.
Daniel Garza, executive director of the Libre Initiative, a Koch-brothers-backed conservative group that did not embrace Trump’s candidacy, said he is determined to work with the administration.
“I will work with anyone to do what is right,” Garza said, adding that he hopes Trump comes through on his pledge to work on reforming taxes, holding down spending and improving job opportunities.
Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist who made headlines for her vocal opposition to Trump’s presidential campaign, said that while she doesn’t like the billionaire businessman, she does respect the office of the president.
"Let's hope that he was playing a character for campaign purposes,” Navarro told CNN on Wednesday. “He's an entertainer. Let's hope that that's what he was doing and that the Trump that becomes president... feels the weight of the position, the responsibility and duty of the position, and realizes that governing a divided country is very, very difficult."
"We've got to hope for his success," she added. "We've got to hope for our country's success."
Both conservative Latinos and political insiders say that Hispanics need to find the silver lining in a Trump presidency, especially when it comes to subjects like immigration reform.
Evelyn Pérez Verdia, a political strategist with Florida’s Political Pasión, told FNL that just because there is a Republican president and Republican-led Congress that does not mean immigration reform is doomed. She said GOP lawmakers who are more moderate on immigration – like Arizona Sen. John McCain and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio – will make sure the issue gets a delicate look.
“Trump is so unpredictable that I’m not sure what he going to do with Latinos, but I don’t think he will actually deport 11 million undocumented immigrants” Pérez-Verdia said. “Republicans all say that he is willing to listen, so let’s see if he listens.”
Whatever their feelings toward Trump, most conservative Latino leaders agree that the fight for the presidency is over and it is now time to work with Trump instead of trying to undermine him.
“You have to fight the good fight,” Marin said. “I hope he presents some type of immigration reform that we can work with. If he can work with both parties and try to heal the wounds in the country then I wish him the best of luck.”
Follow Andrew O'Reilly on Twitter @aoreilly84.