The president of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which was involved in a high-profile dispute with Donald Trump after he abruptly backed out of a commitment to appear at a Thursday event held by the group, says that Donald Trump has doomed his chance at being U.S. president.
Chamber President and CEO Javier Palomarez said that Trump’s about-face, coming after a barrage of comments and policy positions insensitive to Latinos, “really spelled the end of his campaign.”
“He’s never going to win the White House,” Palomarez said in an interview with Fox News Latino on Wednesday.
“Anybody running for the White House would do well to begin to engage and collaborate with America’s burgeoning Hispanic electorate,” Palomarez said.
“This particular candidate has done everything he can to alienate that electorate," he added. "And given the chance to come and explain himself in a dialogue that’s about substance, it’s about a track record and being able to clarify exactly what he meant with those deplorable comments.”
“In the end of the day, he checked out and chose not to do this,” Palomarez said.
Efforts to get a response from the Trump campaign have been unsuccessful.
Trump has brought immigration to the forefront of the Republican presidential race with his controversial comments about undocumented immigrants from Mexico being mostly criminals and rapists and with his threat to build a massive wall along the U.S.’s southern border. The USHCC said that its objective in addressing the immigration issue was to "refocus the debate toward the more positive, fact-based, and economically sound narrative that the USHCC has been advancing for years, long before the 2016 election cycle."
Palomarez said that, for his part, he’s moved on.
“I’d rather focus on people who matter, people who actually have a real fighting chance to get into the White House, and ultimately be leaders of the greatest country in the world.”
He added: “We’re more concerned with dealing with candidates who are serious about our community … As we stand right now, every 30 seconds a Latino turns 18 in this country and becomes an eligible voter. That’s an estimated 58,000 brand new voters every month and that’s going to be the case for the next 21 years in a row.”
Palomarez’s Q&A’s with the presidential candidates have been ground-breaking for his ability to get contenders from both major parties. The format consists of about 90 minutes of sweeping questioning by the chamber president.
Palomarez said he feels that Latinos get little chance to hear at length from candidates during campaigns, especially early on in election cycles.
“We’re very concerned that the Hispanic voice has not been heard clearly enough during presidential campaigns,” Palomarez said. “We represent the interests of 4.1 million Hispanic-owned companies in this country that collectively contribute over $661 billion to the economy. It’s important for us to hear directly from candidates about their views, their plans for the future.”
The Q&A’s, he said, seemed to offer a fresh new approach to vetting candidates.
“It was clear to us that we need to create a format where we could attract the candidates from both parties, away from the rhetoric and focused on record, away from the public spectacle and focused on substance.”
USHCC has conducted Q&A’s with Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, John Kasich, and is in talks at the moment to have them with Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton.