Latinos for Trump founder Marco Gutierrez really doesn’t seem to like his own people.
Appearing on Samantha Bee’s late-night show Monday night, Gutierrez warned, “As Hispanics, we are a primitive and underdeveloped culture. We’ll take whatever we can take if you let us.” Asked if that means people should be scared of Mexicans, Gutierrez replied, “Yes, you should be very frightened.”
The type of comments aren’t new for Gutierrez. Earlier this month, he appeared on MSNBC to warn America about the potential spread of tacos: “My culture is a very dominant culture. And it’s imposing, and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re gonna have taco trucks every corner.”
The newest remark isn’t anywhere as silly as the second, but it’s essentially the same message: Be very afraid of Latinos in America, a diverse group of more than 56 million people with dozens of countries of origin.
Gutierrez is yet another Trump supporter trying to activate the racial resentment among American voters to get them to support Trump, even if that means describing Latinos like himself as the antagonists. Hand-wringing about a certain racial or ethnic group’s “culture,” after all, is a common form of coded language that politicians and pundits use to get away with explicitly racist messages — from crime to immigration and terrorism. In this case, the worry is that America’s apparently great culture will be replaced by a supposedly criminal Mexican culture, in Trump and his supporters’ view.
A Pew Research Center survey from April and May demonstrated Trump supporters’ fears: The biggest factor associated with “warmer feelings” toward Trump was the sentiment that a “growing number of newcomers from other countries threatens US values.” That surpassed identifying as a Republican, worries about Islam, and fears over minority Americans’ population growth in signifying the likelihood of backing Trump.
This is exactly what Gutierrez and the rest of the Trump campaign are tapping into: It’s an attempt to play into people’s xenophobic fears that Latino immigrants are changing the face of America.
Update: Jon Cordova, a Trump spokesperson, said Gutierrez doesn’t represent the campaign: “Marco Gutierrez is NOT a surrogate for the Donald Trump campaign and only represents his own views, not the position of the campaign.”