It might be hard to believe given the furor over Donald Trump’s recent anti-immigration comments, but in the aftermath of the 2012 defeat for Republicans, Trump had some harsh words for former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney about his outreach to the Latino community:
Real estate mogul Donald Trump recently reflected on former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s loss, telling Newsmax that the candidate failed to resonate among certain demographics in part because of his “maniacal” immigration policy.
“He had a crazy policy of self-deportation, which was maniacal,” Trump said. “It sounded as bad as it was, and he lost all of the Latino vote … He lost the Asian vote. He lost everybody who is inspired to come into this country.”
This was sort of an “I told you so” moment for the billionaire, as he predicted in the summer of 2012 that Republicans’ stance toward immigrants would cost the party in November:
“For people that have been here for years that have been hard-workers, have good jobs, they’re supporting their family — it’s very, very tough to just say, ‘By the way, 22 years, you have to leave. Get out,'” he said during an appearance on Fox News. “I’m one of the world’s very conservative people, but I have to tell you on a human basis, how do you throw somebody out that’s lived in this country for 20 years.”
His criticism wasn’t one sided. He also attacked Democrats for not having a plan, while pointing out an aspect of their approach that might help Republicans with Latinos:
Trump accused Democrats of not having anything meaningful to offer in the field of immigration policy, but said that the party benefited from at least appearing to have the interests of immigrants in mind.
“The Democrats didn’t have a policy for dealing with illegal immigrants,” Trump told Newsmax. “But what they did have going for them is they weren’t mean-spirited about it.”
Trump’s plan isn’t the self deportation that he lambasted two years ago, but it probably sounds just as bad to the average immigrant. Hopefully, Mr. Trump can remember the important roles Latinos played in the last presidential election and resurrect the reasonable advice he gave in 2012.
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.