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Hispanic evangelical leader warns: No guarantee Donald Trump’s video message will air at his conference

Presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is sending a videotaped message to be played at an annual conference of the nation’s largest Hispanic evangelical group. But there’s no guarantee that the message will be aired.

Samuel Rodriguez, leader of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said late Tuesday that he will only air the presidential candidate’s video greeting if he thinks it’s conciliatory and respectful to Latinos and the nation’s immigrant community.

“I will personally get the video and scrutinize it, of course,” Rodriguez said in a phone interview.

Bloomberg News first reported Tuesday that Trump planned to send the videotaped message to NHCLC’s “Latin Leaders Fest” scheduled for this weekend in Anaheim. But Rodriguez took issue with the news organization’s reporting, saying it made it seem that just because Trump was sending the video it would be aired.

“There are no assurances and no guarantees,” he said.

One of the nation’s most prominent Latino religious figures, Rodriguez has been angered this past year by Trump’s talk about Mexican immigrants. He has never spoken with or met Trump or any of his campaign aides and that he was only told by his own aides on Tuesday that the campaign planned to send the video.

“I’m not endorsing Donald Trump, I’m actually very opposed to his rhetoric on most issues,” Rodriguez said. “At the top of the list, his rhetoric on immigrants, on immigration, is unacceptable. But we are who we are — the Latino evangelical movement — and we have a gathering of the most influential Latino evangelicals in the country.”

As a religious leader and the leader of a major nonprofit religious organization, Rodriguez cannot formally endorse a candidate even if he wanted to. But NHCLC has hosted presidential forums in the past, for the first time in 2008 with then-Sen. Barack Obama.

“I’m a pastor so I want to hear you out,” he said. “But I want to be able to speak to you and see if there’s a chance to change your heart and mind. I want Donald Trump to realize that the vast majority of immigrants in this country are god-fearing, hard working, amazing individuals. It’s impossible to make America great again without immigrants.”

Any overture by Trump to Hispanics is notable given the animosity he’s created in the past year. And yet, outreach to Hispanic evangelicals is possibly the easiest way to do so. Evangelicals of any sort are socially conservative and more likely to vote for Republican candidates.

A majority of Hispanics are Catholic — 55 percent — while about 16 percent are evangelicals, according to the Pew Research Center.

In an interview with The Washington Post ahead of last year’s NHCLC conference, Rodriguez warned GOP presidential candidates that immigration “is the Jordan that Republicans must cross in order to step into the promised land of the electorate.” That’s a biblical reference to the river the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land.

“The rhetoric throughout the course of the campaign needs to be very nuanced, very affirming of the Latino community,” Rodriguez said in the interview.

But since last year’s conference, “The concerns have increased exponentially,” Rodriguez said Tuesday night. “If [Trump] is the presumed nominee, we do want to provide space for both sides of the aisle even if we’re disappointed by the rhetoric coming out of both sides of the aisle.”

Trump campaign aides didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on their plans to send the video message.

Rodriguez said he has extended invitations to former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — the two rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination — to address his conference, but that he hasn’t heard from either campaign.

Original article can been read here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/05/17/hispanic-evangelical-leader-warns-no-guarantee-donald-trumps-video-message-will-air-at-his-conference/

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Trump Makes a Play for Hispanic Evangelicals

The presumptive Republican nominee will address the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference in a pre-recorded message.

 

Donald Trump is looking to break down the political wall between him and a segment of Hispanic voters: Latino evangelicals who tend to vote Republican.

Trump aides have told the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee will submit videotaped remarks to be played at their annual conference this weekend in California. It’s one of his most overt moves to date to repair the damage he has done with members of the crucial Latino voting bloc, many of whom have bristled at Trump’s past name-calling, stereotyping, and calls to deport undocumented immigrants.

“It would be the first time that I’m aware of that he’s addressing, even though it’s a videotaped message, a Latino organization,” said Brent Wilkes, the national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens. “That’s encouraging, honestly.”

The Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the leadership conference and one of the nation’s most influential Hispanic evangelical leaders, told Bloomberg Politics that Trump’s message will be played before more than 1,200 Hispanic leaders who are meeting Friday and Saturday to discuss “issues that are important to evangelical Latinos” at what’s being called the Latin Leaders Fest.

It’s unclear what Trump will say in the taped recording to the group. Trump’s campaign aides declined to comment. After the publication of this story, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s Latino outreach staff contacted the conference to say she will be submitting recorded remarks as well, Rodriguez said.

The inclusion of Trump’s message does not constitute an endorsement for the Republican, Rodriguez said.

“I have said before, that while I will not endorse any candidate, I will continue to seek the candidates’ endorsement of a pro-life, pro-family, religious liberty, immigration reform agenda, which is of utmost importance to Latino evangelical voters,” Rodriguez said. “He must redeem the narrative with Latinos, and in particular people of faith committed to the aforementioned values.”

It’s not surprising that Trump opted to record his remarks for this year’s gathering, Wilkes said, rather than deliver his remarks in person.

“From what I know of them, if he did appear in person, they’d have some words for him,” Wilkes said. Hispanic evangelicals don’t like intolerance toward immigrants, he said.
For conservative politicians who want to court Hispanic voters, Latino evangelicals are the most fertile ground. They are concerned with moral issues and are more likely to side with Republicans more than the Catholic Latino population, polling shows. About 55 percent of U.S. Latinos identify as Catholic; just 16 percent of Hispanics describe themselves as evangelical, according to the Pew Research Center.

While Trump has described his own positions during the presidential campaign as “flexible,” he will need to convince Hispanic voters that this is also true of the issues he has made staples of his campaign.

During the Republican primary, Trump used a tough stance on illegal immigration to fuel his insurgent campaign, promising that he will build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He referred broadly to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “drug dealers,” and used other language that many Latinos considered offensive.

Rodriguez said a survey of his organization’s members showed that Hispanic evangelicals are still making up their minds about who to support in the 2016 presidential race.
“The NHCLC stands committed not to the agenda of the donkey or the elephant but exclusively to the lamb’s agenda,” he said. “Accordingly, we will encourage Latino people of faith to vote life, family, religious liberty and immigration reform.”

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, a presidential hopeful who advocated easing immigration laws, gave the headline speech at last year’s event in Texas.

It’s logical for Trump to try to broaden his appeal with evangelicals, and if he’s going to make any in-roads with Hispanics, it will be with Latino evangelicals, said Geoffrey Layman, a politics professor at the University of Notre Dame.

“I suspect that even there he doesn’t have a great chance,” Layman said. “Racial and ethnic identity will trump religious identity.”

To win against Clinton, Trump will need to peel away any Hispanic votes he can. He doesn’t have to win 50 percent of Latino voters, but it will make a difference if he wins 30 percent of the Latino vote in key swing states, Layman said.

In 2012, about half of Hispanic evangelical Protestants supported President Barack Obama while 39 percent backed Republican Mitt Romney, Pew found. The demographic composition of the 2016 electorate is expected to be about 30 percent non-white, including 13 million likely Hispanic voters, Wilkes said.

Trump’s decision to court leaders at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference will likely send a signal to Latino voters nationally, but he has much more work to do, Wilkes said.

“He’s going to have to face the music and go out and talk to the community that he’s been denigrating,” he said.

Rodriguez said his group, a nonpartisan organization, hasn’t yet received the video of Trump’s remarks. They have reached out to Democrat Bernie Sanders to encourage a similar video message, he said.

Original article can be read here: http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-05-17/trump-makes-a-play-for-hispanic-evangelicals

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Clinton Closes in on the Magic Number

OFF TO THE RACES: Clinton is now 92 delegates away from hitting magic number

Hillary Clinton is within 100 delegates of the nomination after being projected the apparent winner of the Kentucky primary.

Sanders won in Oregon, but he needed Kentucky too in the face of criticism that he’s hurting party unification by staying in the race, Alex Seitz-Wald writes.

From the New York Times: “The close result meant that she and Mr. Sanders would effectively split the state’s delegates. Nonetheless, winning Kentucky would give her a symbolic triumph that could blunt the effect of her loss in Oregon as she turns her attention to Donald J. Trump, her likely general election opponent.”

A new WBUR poll shows it would be a tight contest between Trump and Clinton in New Hampshire.

The AP: “Donald Trump is rushing to install operatives in several states that traditionally favor Democrats, pointing to a general election plan consistent with the campaign he has run thus far: Defying conventional wisdom and political trends. The staffing expansion includes Maine, Minnesota and other places where Trump opens as the underdog, with the New York billionaire seeking to expand the electoral battlefield by drawing on his appeal among working class white voters — and probable Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton’s perceived weakness with them. Still, it is an unlikely path to the White House, through states that no Republican presidential candidate has carried since the 1980s.”

CLINTON: She earned more than $5 million in book royalties and about $1.5 million for paid speeches last year, according a financial disclosure released by her campaign.

In case you were wondering: No, Bill Clinton can’t serve in Hillary Clinton’s cabinet.

The Clinton campaign is still trying to figure out the best way to attack Trump,POLITICO reports.

Tim Kaine is at the top of the list when it comes to speculation about Clinton’s vice president, but some Democrats worry he wouldn’t be an aggressive attack dog.

“Interviews in a civil lawsuit with current and former State Department officials concerning former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server will begin this week,” writes the Wall Street Journal.

TRUMP: From NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell, Hallie Jackson and Alex Jaffe: “Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee have finalized an agreement that will allow individual donors to contribute nearly half a million dollars each toward electing the presumptive nominee and other down-ballot Republicans this fall.”

He buried the hatchet with Megyn Kelly. Reach Ali Vitali’s dispatch on the big interview here.

Trump says he would talk directly with Kim Jong Un about nuclear weapons.

Dante Chinni lays out why Trump must make gains among female voters to win the White House.

Trump’s plan to fix his image is to explain past controversies, like the accusation that he mocked a disabled reporter, the Washington Post reports.

He called his financial disclosure the “largest in the history of the FEC.” It has not yet been made public.

Melania Trump told a magazine interviewer that her husband is “not Hitler.”

The New York Times Magazine has a long story on how Trump became the last man standing.

The Washington Post delves into Trump’s relationship with a Russian man linked to the Mafia.

He’ll address the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference by pre-taped video remarks, Bloomberg reports.

Trump is preparing for a convention in Cleveland that pushes traditions out the door.

SANDERS: He was defiant Tuesday in the face of criticism for the behavior of his supporters at the Nevada Democratic convention.

More, from the New York Times: “Mr. Sanders’s supporters showed no sign of backing down on Tuesday. In interviews, several threatened to disrupt the party’s convention in Philadelphia in July with protests and nonviolent disobedience over a nominating system that they say has treated Mr. Sanders unfairly. In emails, on social media and on websites, his supporters have traded advice about protest tactics and legal services in case of mass arrests.”

Dana Milbank compares Bernie Sanders to Ralph Nader.

OBAMA AGENDA: New overtime rules

The Department of Labor issued new overtime rules. From the AP: “The regulations being issued by the Labor Department Wednesday would double to $913 a week from $455 the threshold under which salaried workers must be paid overtime. In terms of annual pay, the threshold rises to $47,476 from $23,660. The rules take effect Dec. 1.”

More on the move, from the New York Times: “Once the rule goes into effect on Dec. 1, many workers will receive more pay when they work overtime, but others may end up working fewer hours if employers move to limit their time at work. In other cases, employers may decide to increase the salaries of some workers to push them over the cutoff so that the employers will not have to pay overtime or hire additional workers after limiting hours for existing employees.”

Original post can be read here: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/first-read-s-morning-clips-clinton-closes-magic-number-n576076

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Famed Pastor Has a Strong Message for Christians Who Support Pro-Planned Parenthood Politicians: ‘You Need to Repent’

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, recently offered up a passionate rebuke of politicians who defend Planned Parenthood, explaining why he believes Christian voters must not support these individuals.

In fact, Rodriguez, author of the new book ”Be Light,” called it “morally reprehensible” for Bible-believers to stand behind candidates who openly defend the controversial women’s health care organization.

“I want to speak to every single African American, Latino, and Ango Christ follower who believes in biblical orthodoxy — how can we justify supporting anything — be it Republican or Democrat — that in any way, form or shape defends Planned Parenthood?” Rodriguez told The Church Boys podcast. “How can we justify supporting any political candidate that defends Planned Parenthood?”

And he wasn’t done there. The preacher went on to call such a prospect “morally reprehensible,” saying that it is a “contradiction to our commitment to Christ and scripture.”

“Any Christian who would support a candidate who defends Planned Parenthood really needs to seek scripture,” he continued. “You need to repent, because there’s culpability in what takes place in this nation as it pertains to the abortion industry if you dare support a candidate who supports Planned Parenthood.”
Rodriguez, who is known for routinely and passionately addressing social and political issues like immigration and the death penalty, explained that the pro-life position is incredibly important in his life and ministry.

“I am so pro-life that it permeates everything I do,” he said.

With that in mind, Rodriguez also spoke out against the stances of candidates like Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders, who recently said that he supports no restrictions on abortion.
“I get scared when people say there should be no limits — you’re kidding me,” Rodriguez said. “You’re about to kill a human being who’s about to come out of the womb. I can’t justify it. It makes absolutely no sense.”

In an earlier portion of the interview, which was previously published to TheBlaze, Rodriguez candidly attributed Donald Trump’s rise to become the presumptive GOP presidential nominee as a mass reaction to the cultural dynamic that has been at play over the past eight years — one that has been characterized by what he described as a “hesitant angst building up.”
“The consequence of the earthquake is Donald Trump,” he said, noting that societal reverberations have resulted from frustration over big government, impediments to religious liberty and political correctness “on steroids.” ”It’s an interesting thing, because it’s Christian populism.”

Rodriguez continued, further describing the cultural changes that have unfolded, “In a matter of 7 and a half years, America has been redefined culturally, morally — in so many ways even economically [with] this thing called Obamacare.”

Original article can be read here: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/05/19/you-need-to-repent-famed-pastor-holds-little-back-in-addressing-politicians-who-support-planned-parenthood/

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Trump launches media offensive to rehab image

Donald Trump has launched a media offensive to address old wrongs as he seeks to unite Republicans around his candidacy and attract new voters.

Trump’s take-no-prisoners style was a hit with Republican voters in the primary, but his willingness to hit below the belt in upending a culture he argues is spoiled by political correctness has alienated conservatives and left him vulnerable with important voting blocs.

In resetting his campaign for the general election, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is seeking to rehabilitate his image among voters who may have been turned off by his extreme rhetoric.

“This reflects his campaign’s understanding of the obvious — that his high unfavorability rating is unsustainable in the general election,” said David Winston, who served as Newt Gingrich’s pollster for the former House Speaker’s 2012 presidential run.

“The first step you take in correcting that is reaching out to groups to address certain perceptions about him,” Winston said. “It will be a challenge, but it’s not clear that views about him have completely hardened yet, so there’s opportunity here.”

Trump sat for a much-anticipated interview broadcast Tuesday with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, one of the most powerful and popular women in conservative politics.

Trump offered a rare mea culpa to the television news star he famously fought with during and after the first GOP presidential debate, saying he “could have maybe done things differently” or “used different language in a couple of instances.”

It was one piece of Trump’s effort to win over women, who polls show prefer Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic presidential nominee.

Trump also said he regretted retweeting an unflattering photo of former rival Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz. And in a Wednesday announcement, Trump included three women on a list of people he’d consider to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.

In another example of Trump seeking to self-correct, in an interview with The Washington Post he seemed genuinely worried over accusations that he had mocked a disabled person. At a campaign rally last year, Trump appeared to mimic a New York Times reporter who suffers from a congenital joint condition.

In that same Washington Post interview, Trump said he’d publicly seek to make amends for his slights, real or perceived, at campaign rallies and in speeches going forward.

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Trump would address the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. To win the White House, Trump likely needs a better showing than 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney with Hispanics, who polls suggest have been turned off by Trump’s talk about building a wall on the southern border, which he says Mexico will pay for.

The bridge-building comes as Trump also seeks to repair relationships with the Republican leaders he torched on his way to the nomination.

Trump has been courting Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in hopes of winning his endorsement, and he met with dozens of lawmakers, including Ryan, on a whirlwind trip through Washington, D.C., last week.

Many of those lawmakers told The Hill they were impressed by Trump’s demeanor and his willingness to listen to the concerns they have about his candidacy.

Republicans view Clinton’s unpopularity as one of her primary weaknesses. But that weakness is neutralized by Trump, who is even less popular.

A USA Today-Suffolk poll released last month found only 28 percent of voters view Trump positively, with 61 percent viewing him negatively. Clinton had a 37-54 split in the same poll.

A Gallup poll from late March found that only 12 percent of Hispanics have a positive view of Trump, while 77 percent view him negatively.

And an April poll from Gallup found that 70 percent of women view Trump unfavorably, with only 23 percent saying they had a positive view of him.

“That’s a huge problem and a terrible place to be,” said Winston. “Women make up a majority of the electorate. At this point, the best asset Trump and Clinton have is how unpopular the other candidate is.”

Trump will need to move quickly, as Democrats are already looking to define him and capitalize on his weaknesses.

This week, Priorities USA, the largest pro-Clinton super-PAC, launched its first two television ads against Trump.

Both ads, which are part of a multimillion-dollar media buy set to run in swing states, feature Trump’s past controversial remarks about women.

Republicans say that if Trump is to maximize his appeal, his outreach will have to extend beyond women and Hispanics.

Some social conservatives remain skeptical of Trump. They don’t believe he has stood up for them in the fight over transgender bathroom laws, and they’re alarmed by his soft rhetoric on abortion.

John Hajjar, co-chairman of the American-Mideast Coalition for Trump, says there is opportunity for Trump if he’ll consider reaching out to moderate Muslim groups.
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“Absolutely we’d like to see that,” Hajjar said. “Look, he’s built his campaign on being politically incorrect, but he’s also tapping into sentiments that a lot of Americans feel. I think now that the nomination is his, you’ll start to see him be more presidential or refine some of his positions even if his targets stay the same.”

Of course, Trump’s outreach is likely to remain true to his core style, rough edges and all.

“I think if I didn’t conduct myself in the way that I’ve done it, I wouldn’t have been successful, actually,” Trump told Kelly. “If I were soft, if I were presidential — in a way it’s a bad word, because there’s nothing wrong with being presidential — but if I had not fought back in the way I fought back, I don’t think I would have been successful.”

Original article can be here: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/280441-trump-launches-media-offensive-to-rehab-image

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Trump to Address First Latino Audience This Weekend – In Videotaped Message

Donald Trump is not popular with Hispanics, poll after poll has shown. His now infamous remarks on illegal immigration and promise to build a wall, which kicked off his presidential campaign, have done wonders with some conservatives, but badly damaged his image with Latinos. That doesn’t mean he’s going to just give up on the demographic. In his first address to a Latino audience, Trump will be sending a pre-recorded videotaped message for a group of Hispanic evangelicals at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference this weekend.

Trump aides have told the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee will submit videotaped remarks to be played at their annual conference this weekend in California. It’s one of his most overt moves to date to repair the damage he has done with members of the crucial Latino voting bloc, many of whom have bristled at Trump’s past name-calling, stereotyping, and calls to deport undocumented immigrants.

 

To be fair, Hillary Clinton is also submitting videotaped remarks. She, however, doesn’t have so high a hill to climb with Hispanic voters.

We don’t yet know what Trump will say in the video, but Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, president of the leadership conference, said he hopes the presumptive GOP nominee can “redeem the narrative with Latinos” – people of faith, in particular. Indeed, Trump reaching out to evangelical Hispanics is perhaps a smart campaign move, considering this specific demographic tends to hold more conservative views.

Brent Wilkes, the national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, noted it’s “encouraging” the Trump campaign is reaching out to Hispanics, but he’s eventually going to have to meet face-to-face with the community he’s been “denigrating.”

Original article can be read here: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2016/05/18/trump-to-address-first-latino-audience-this-weekend-n2165078

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Evangelicals are the kind of Latinos the GOP could be winning. But probably not with Donald Trump

Samuel Rodriguez is the kind of Latino whom Republicans hoped they could count on in 2016.

An evangelical Christian pastor who opposes the Democratic Party’s stance on abortion and same-sex marriage, Rodriguez led a prayer onstage at the 2012 GOP national convention. This election cycle, he publicly praised Republican leaders including Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio.

Then Donald Trump became the party’s presumptive nominee. Now Rodriguez doesn’t know what to think.

Trump’s calls for mass deportations “have offended me and my community,” said Rodriguez, who heads the National Hispanic Leadership Conference. “Those are our parishioners.”

“Donald Trump is jeopardizing the very future of our churches,” he added.

 

Trump’s rise has put evangelical Latinos like Rodriguez in a difficult position. Many view the Democratic Party as hostile to conservative Christian values. Many also say they cannot support Trump, who has alienated Latinos by insulting Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists and pledging to build a massive border wall.

“We have a problem with the donkey, and we have a problem with the elephant,” Rodriguez said at his group’s annual convention in Anaheim over the weekend, where Trump and Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, both addressed the crowd in videotaped remarks.

It’s a problem of great significance, given the size of the Latino vote and the growing influence of evangelicals in Latino communities.

A record 27 million Latinos will be eligible to participate in the November general election, a figure that includes a rising number of evangelical Christians.

While a majority of Latino adults still belong to the Catholic Church, more and more are embracing evangelical Christianity, according to Pew Research Center. The percentage of Latinos who identify as evangelical or born-again Christian rose from 12% in 2010 to 16% in 2013, according to Pew.

Evangelical Latinos, who tend to hold more conservative social views than their Catholic and non-religious counterparts, have long been viewed as potential recruits for the GOP. According to Pew, they are more likely to identify as Republicans than are other Latinos.

But Trump’s attacks on the immigrant community have forced some Latino evangelicals to put identity politics ahead of their religious beliefs.

“In good consciousness, I just can’t vote for him,” said Eddie Rodriguez, a pastor who leads an Assemblies of God congregation in South Florida.

 

Not only does he think Trump has set back the U.S. in terms of racial relations, he doesn’t believe Trump is a true Christian conservative. He cites Trump’ past support for abortion, his harsh tone toward women and his acknowledgement that he has never asked God for forgiveness.

Rodriguez supported Rubio in the Republican primaries, but has now resigned himself to voting for Clinton.

“It’s extremely difficult,” he said. “I have to pick between two people I disagree with.”

That’s a dilemma faced by the broader evangelical community, which has been divided between those who support Trump and those who have denounced his language and ideas as un-Christian.

Next month, several hundred conservative leaders plan to meet privately with Trump to address concerns about his candidacy. The meeting, which was arranged by former presidential candidate Ben Carson, is expected to include some Latino leaders.

Some of those evangelical Latino leaders are winnable for Trump.

Sergio De La Mora, who helps lead a Latino megachurch in San Diego, said he admires Trump’s business experience and doesn’t feel personally offended by his rhetoric on immigration.

That might be because he and his congregants have long ties to the U.S. and little connection to illegal immigration, he said.

“Most people really don’t care about that,” said De La Mora, who said he is considering voting for Trump.

Still, when it comes to Latinos, Trump is operating at a major deficit.

According to a recent Fox News Latino poll, 62% of Latinos supported Clinton, while only 23% backed Trump.

That would give the real estate mogul and former reality television star even less Latino support than Mitt Romney, who won just 27% of the Latino vote as the Republican nominee against President Obama in 2012. Romney’s bid suffered in part from his proposal to make life difficult for immigrants in the country illegally so that they self-deport.

After Romney’s loss to Obama, the Republican National Committee issued a report that said future Republican survival would require candidates to soften their rhetoric on immigration and the Latino community.

“If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States … they will not pay attention to our next sentence,” the report said. “It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy, if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.”

Former Republican presidential candidates Bush and Rubio both campaigned based on that playbook, promising to pass legislation that would allow immigrants in the country illegally to stay with some form of legal status. While those proposals won them fans among Latino conservatives, they were not enough to stop Trump.

Since becoming the presumptive nominee earlier this month, Trump has toned down his rhetoric slightly and has made a few overt pitches to Latino voters. On Cinco de Mayo, he tweeted a picture of himself with a taco salad and wrote: “I love Hispanics!”

But some Latino evangelical leaders say it will take much more than that for them to consider voting for him.

We’re people of faith, so our response is: ‘Say you’re sorry. Repent. Make it right.’ The ball is in his court.

— Tony Suarez, an evangelical pastor from Virginia

“We’re people of faith, so our response is: ‘Say you’re sorry. Repent. Make it right,'” said Tony Suarez, an evangelical pastor from Virginia who was in Anaheim for the conference. “The ball is in his court,” he said.

In his videotaped remarks to church leaders Friday night, Trump did not apologize. Instead he told them he would win the election in November and that they were “going to like President Trump.”

“I’m going to win, and we’re going to take care of everybody,” Trump said, vowing to help poor and middle-class minority communities by lowering taxes, improving schools and creating jobs. “We’re going to take care of you.”

Trump abstained from the heated rhetoric on immigration. Clinton, in her taped remarks, wasn’t about to let the audience forget exactly what Trump has said.

“We’re hearing some divisive and dangerous rhetoric in this election,” Clinton said. “We have a candidate who wants to tear families apart and forcibly deport 11 million undocumented immigrants — who calls Mexicans rapists.”

The Rev. Walter Contreras, a pastor in Pasadena who skipped the event, said simply giving Trump a platform to speak was dangerous.

Some evangelical leaders appear eager to forgive Trump because they can’t stomach supporting Democrats, he said. He and other Christian leaders who share his views have led a campaign to counter that, recently writing a letter in which they said supporting Trump is the same thing as supporting his anti-immigrant message.

“We’re not going to tolerate that kind of rhetoric,” Contreras said. “It’s very destructive. It’s very real. It’s too late.”

Original article can be read here: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-evangelical-latinos-20160523-snap-htmlstory.html

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Clinton slams Trump immigration plan in message to Hispanics

Hillary Clinton on Friday shined a spotlight on Donald Trump’s immigration plan while speaking to a group of Hispanic Christians.

During the two-minute video shown at Friday night’s National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Clinton emphasized her faith by quoting the New Testament.

She repeated her call for immigration reform while slamming Trump and his rhetoric.

“We are hearing some divisive and dangerous rhetoric in this election. We have a candidate who wants to tear families apart and forcibly deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, who calls Mexicans rapists, who talks about banning Muslims from entering the country,” she said.

“That is not who we are as a people.”

Clinton’s appeared to have been professionally produced, and she spoke in front of a wall-sized map of the world.

It was a contrast to Trump’s video shown at the conference, which was shot on a cell phone aboard his plane, with Trump reading from typed notes on a single piece of printed paper in his hand.

Trump made brief note of his immigration plan in his video, saying that “people are going to come in to our country but they’re going to come in through a process. They’ll come in legally.”

He also vowed to curb minority unemployment and stop illegal drug cartels.

Clinton stands far ahead with Hispanics in most polls. A poll from Fox News Latino released Friday showed Clinton with a 39-point lead over Trump among Hispanics.

But Clinton’s favorables among Hispanics fall far short of President Obama’s, giving Hispanic conservatives some hope.

Original article can be read here: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/280783-clinton-slams-trump-immigration-plan-in-message-to

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Clinton, Trump tailor messages to evangelical Christian Hispanics

Washington (CNN) Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump used different tactics to appeal to evangelical Christian Hispanics this weekend, with the Democratic hopeful presenting a message of policy and faith while the presumptive GOP nominee tried to explain how his platform would benefit minorities.

The two messages, aired in videos presented at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California, on Friday, come at a time when a new Fox News Latino poll found Clinton enjoying a nearly 40-point lead over Trump among Hispanics, a critical and growing voting bloc.

In her video, Clinton vowed to raise the minimum wage, create new jobs and offer quality education to all Americans. She talked about how she wants to pass comprehensive immigration reform, taking a thinly veiled swipe at Trump, though she didn’t mention him by name.

“You know, we’re hearing some divisive and dangerous rhetoric in this election,” she said. “We have a candidate who wants to tear families apart and forcibly deport 11 million undocumented immigrants … that is not who we are as a people.”

Clinton, a Methodist, also stressed the importance of religion, saying she’s been a “person of faith” her entire life.

“The lessons I’ve learned from my family and church guide me every day of this campaign,” she said.

In Trump’s video, which appeared to have been filmed on a cell phone on his personal plane, he spoke of how his immigration platform would help Hispanics. Strengthening borders and renegotiating trade deals, he said, would address unemployment among minorities.

“The world is taking our jobs and we’ve got to stop it,” he said in the video, looking occasionally at a paper he was holding. “We’re going to take care of minority unemployment. It’s a huge problem, it’s really unfair to minorities, and we are going to solve that problem.”

Trump did not mention religion or his controversial proposal to build a ball along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee earlier this month, Trump has begun reaching out to Hispanics in an effort to heal relations with a community that widely distrusts him.

Earlier this month, Trump was widely panned after tweeting on Cinco de Mayo, “Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”

View image on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/728297587418247168/photo/1

The NHCLC is non-partisan evangelical Christian organization that represents 40,000 churches in the United States. The group’s chair, Carlos Campo, said the organization will not endorse a candidate but wanted to offer the two likely general election contenders a chance to address the group.

Original article can be read here: http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/21/politics/national-hispanic-christian-leadership-conference-donald-trump-hillary-clinton/

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Daylight can be seen for a Trump v Hispanic political resolution

Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare, aside from the possibility of an FBI recommendation for a criminal indictment, is prominent Hispanic conservatives saying they could back Donald Trump. In the ever-changing political landscape of election 2016, it’s a distinct reality if he gently walks back some of his controversial policy positions.

Naturally, the main position Hispanics despise is Trump’s pledge to build a southern border wall with Mexico paying for it. It didn’t help that he included the comments about rapists and criminals coming across the border, even though it’s true. As of Saturday, there is hope of a change in attitude for both sides.

Trump trailed Clinton by 39 points among Hispanic voters in a Fox News Latino poll released on Friday. Prominent voices in the conservative Hispanic world publicly proclaim there could be a truce of sorts between the two sides.

At least that is what Alfonso Aguilar, a former White House official under President George W. Bush who now leads the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, says. He’s ready to open a conversation with Trump. Aguilar has been quite critical of Trump in the past.

However, over the weekend Trump sent a video to this weekend’s National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC). Trump’s video aired Friday night, along with one from Clinton. Trump stressed a process for unification. It’s obvious ‘The Donald” is seeking to change his image with Hispanics.

Trump has also spoken with former Sen. Mel Martinez (Fla.), a former Republican National Committee chairman. He has yet to endorse Trump and “will be continuing to see how things develop.” Like Aguilar, Martinez’s comments are a far cry from 2015 statements where both men said they would never support the flamboyant New Yorker.

Trump can’t afford the risk of doing worse than 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who won only 27 percent of the Hispanic vote. Hillary faces no cakewalk with Hispanics. In fact, 41 percent of Hispanics have a negative view of the former secretary of state. It suggests some vulnerability.

It will be a difficult task for Trump to balance the line of possible Hispanic support with his base who believes immigrants strongly weaken the country, according to a recent Wall Street Journal poll. But being the successful businessman he is, his reply is “everything is negotiable.”

Original article can be read here: http://www.examiner.com/article/daylight-can-be-seen-for-a-trump-v-hispanic-political-resolution

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