Trump claims Latino anger over SNL appearance will drive 'ratings up higher'

Donald Trump is trying to once again prove that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Trump said earlier this week that the uproar created by Hispanic groups over the Republican presidential candidate's upcoming hosting gig on "Saturday Night Live" will only drive ratings for the show to record proportions.

"I know these groups," Trump said, according to The Hill." "I get hit with this stuff all the time."

He added: "I think they'll only drive the ratings up higher."

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA) said in a letter sent last week to the heads of NBCUniversal and Saturday Night Live that while it was glad to see NBC sever its ties with Trump after the billionaire used his campaign announcement to denounce Mexican immigrants, it was outraged that the show was putting the candidate on a pedestal.

"Donald Trump has yet to apologize for his bigoted comments about Mexican immigrants," said the letter. "Allowing Trump to host SNL will legitimize and validate his anti-Latino comments."

"We are appalled that you would enable Trump's hateful speech for nothing less than a ratings ploy and ask that you rescind the SNL invitation."

On social media, some Latinos have called for boycotting "Saturday Night Live," and, in particular, not tuning in on Nov. 7.

MoveOn has launched an online petition demanding Trump be dropped from the hosting gig.

The petition was the brainchild of Florida college student Juan Escalante, a Venezuelan immigrant who has temporary protected status under President Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

Trump appeared undeterred by the backlash against him and his appearance on the long-running sketch comedy show — he called his critics "scammers."

"A lot of people are scammers," he said. "They sit at home and tap things out on their iPads when they're home in bed."

"They go around and look for money from people," Trump added. "They only care about themselves."

Despite continuing outrage by many members of the Latino community over his comments about immigration and Mexico, the real estate mogul continues to assert that he will win the majority of the Hispanic vote in both the primary campaign and general election, if he wins the GOP nomination.

"I have fantastic respect for Hispanics," Trump said.  "I actually think I will win the Hispanics."

"I have great respect for Mexico, but they're taking advantage of us," he added.  "Ford is moving their factory to Mexico, Nabisco is moving their factory to Mexico."

The booking of Donald Trump to host "Saturday Night Live" has also stirred up older anger among Latinos with the show over the dearth of Hispanic faces in the cast.

Many Latino groups long have criticized "Saturday Night Live" for the near-absence of Latinos on the show's history. The authors of the letter said that Lorne Michaels, the creator of the show, has failed to respond to NHLA's requests for a meeting. The organization, the authors said, has sought a meeting since 2013.

"How can SNL justify casting zero Latinas over 41 seasons and only 2 Latinos over the same period, while promoting Trump's divisive speech toward Latinos?" the letter sent to NBC asked.

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