The Latino National Republican Coalition of Rockland County made national headlines earlier this month when the group officially endorsed GOPer Donald J. Trump for president. As a result of the publicity, WABC’s morning show Good Morning America invited a delegation of LNRC members and supporters to a “town hall” meeting in which GOP candidate Senator Ted Cruz answered several questions from the audience.
The LNRC delegation, which included some Cruz supporters, was not called upon by GMA producers to ask a question during the one hour segment with the senator and his wife Heidi. Many members did meet the conservative Texan lawmaker of half-Cuban descent.
LNRC of Rockland County chairman and Trump enthusiast Anthony Mele reacted, “I heard plenty of rehearsed out of the can focus group responses [from Cruz]. Articulating the problem does not pass for a solution. New York’s skyline have Trump building projects that continue to supply jobs and revenue. That is a tangible economic contribution and accomplishment. Senator Cruz read Dr. Suess on the floor of the Senate for 18 hours.”
Mele has stated he supports Trump because he sees him as a populist and a nationalist whose stance on several issues will be beneficial to the country and help restore government to its rightful place. Across the United States the GOP primary has largely been a referendum on populism vs. establishment monied interests. Even second-place running Cruz had been perceived as an “outsider” candidate before accepting the support of the so-called establishment in an effort to defeat Trump.
Mele has also used the recent GOP primary, which went resoundingly in his preferred candidate’s favor, to remind national media of the problems in Rockland County within the East Ramapo School District, which he said have hurt Latino children disproportionately. Mele said he is optimistic that a Donald J. Trump administration would be responsive to the East Ramapo controversy, while he is less hopeful that a Ted Cruz administration would pay the situation any mind. So far, Rockland politicians have yet to get Governor Andrew Cuomo’s attention on the matter, let alone the president’s.
The LNRC of Rockland’s endorsement of Trump surprised mainstream media organizations because Trump has often been branded as “anti-Latino” due to his hard line on illegal immigration. Yet, Trump has fared well with Republican Latinos in several states. His supporters note that the issue of illegal immigration is not necessarily seen through an ethnic lens.