Entrepreneur-turned-presidential hopeful Donald Trump is in L.A. Friday, less than a month after Trump found himself the object of public ire for calling Mexicans “rapists” and “murderers” at a campaign event.
The Washington Post reports that RNC head Reince Priebus recently asked Trump to “tone down” his remarks on Mexicans and immigration, as Latino voters will likely play an important role in deciding who takes the White House in 2016. But even if Trump doesn’t clinch the Republican nomination, his comments run the risk of turning a significant number of Latinos away from the GOP, regardless of the candidate on the ballot. The GOP is already at a disadvantage: Latinos voted Democrat 3-1 in 2012.
“We need to remember that party identification isn’t just about a conglomeration of policy positions. Party identification is a social identity. It’s an attachment that people feel to a particular group,” said Lisa Garcia Bedolla. She’s the chancellor’s professor of Latino politics at Berkley University. “[So] if you feel that that social group sees you with hostility and animosity and believes [that] you’re ‘rapists,’ then you’re much less likely to feel a positive connection to that party.”
That’s putting it lightly.
Despite the risk that Trump’s assertions pose for the party, however, the billionaire isn’t backing down. On Thursday, he denied the conversation with Priebus entirely, telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper, “I just don’t know how the story got out. Nobody called us for verification, and honestly, I can’t blame him, unless he gave out the story, which is possible. Probably, he did.”
Click the play button above to hear more about the lasting effects Donald Trump’s statements can have on the GOP.