Trump uses coronavirus call to rally Hispanic support for his reelection


The call was wide-ranging, touching on issues related to Latin America, a “bailout” package for states, the Paycheck Protection Program and the use of hydroxychloroquine. Trump also brought up the possibility of an executive order for Hispanic business owners and what it would take to rebound the economy.

But according to participants, the President made no concrete commitments. And while thousands were on the line, two participants said the questions asked and comments made were largely from supporters.

League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) CEO Sindy Benavides said the call was “full of individuals who were a prepared list of Trump supporters, who did not question the President. It almost felt like it was a rally call as we head into November 3. He, in fact, mentioned November 3 a couple of times.”

Benavides added that Trump “directly asked that the biggest thing that individuals can do is vote for (him) and get Hispanics to vote or we’re going to get into a massive depression.”

LULAC has often opposed the President’s policies, and, in recent months, they’ve taken aim at the federal government’s lack of protections for meatpacking plant workers, many of whom are immigrants. The industry has been dealing with a spate of coronavirus outbreaks at their workplaces.

Restauranteurs plead with Trump to make PPP loan changes

The Latino community has been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in the US from a health standpoint and a financial one.

In Chicago, New York City and the state of California, Latinos are contracting coronavirus or dying from coronavirus at a higher rate than the rest of their population.
They’re also more likely to have preexisting conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma, which can worsen the impact of a coronavirus infection.
Hispanic unemployment sits at nearly 19% — an all-time high, and higher than any other demographic. They’re more likely to have taken a pay cut due to the pandemic, according to the Pew Research Center, and they’re more likely to work in occupations that prevent them from teleworking.

On Wednesday’s call, Small Business Administration’s Jovita Carranza discussed the administration’s accomplishments in getting the Paycheck Protection Program’s loans to Latino-owned businesses.

Ramiro Cavazos, president of the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, asked the President about how the administration can help Hispanic business owners attain government contracts.

Trump responded by suggesting that he may issue an executive order on the matter, according to Cavazos.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator and the only administration health expert speaking on the call, discussed the current status of coronavirus testing and reopening, specifically bringing safety in the workplace.

But one participant said she spoke for fewer than five minutes during the call, which they said lasted more than an hour.

During the question-and-answer session, there were mentions of hydroxychloroquine, including one participant who said the President of Honduras had praised the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus treatment.

According to Benavides, Trump also concluded the call by “saying that the numbers are going down in Florida and Georgia.”

“What we’re seeing in the media, especially in communities of color, are going up and that there’s different outbreaks happening. It’s truly very concerning,” Benavides said.

According to The New York Times, recent data from the state of Florida indicates that Hispanics may be disproportionately contracting coronavirus relative to their population in the state.

Daniel Garza, president of the free market-focused LIBRE Initiative, said Trump was not receptive to what Garza called a Democratic-backed “bailout” for states.

According to Garza, Trump said “he doesn’t agree that states that have been mismanaging their finances and spending lavishly for the past 20 or 30 years should bailed out because it has nothing to do with (the coronavirus).”

Participants said Mike Garcia, the Republican who recently won a special election to replace former California Rep. Katie Hill in Congress, spoke briefly on the call as well.

CNN’s Jason Hoffman and Omar Jimenez contributed to this report.


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