On Tuesday night, Donald Trump’s penchant for verbal disputes with political and ideological opponents turned physical. After Univision journalist Jorge Ramos tried to wedge in a question about Mr. Trump’s anti-immigrant polices, Trump ordered Mr. Ramos expelled. A security guard hustled him out of the room.
“You haven’t been called. Go back to Univision,” Trump said.
Trump later allowed Ramos – the Spanish-language Univision’s lead news anchor – to return. The pair then sparred over Trump’s allegation that the Mexican government is purposely exporting criminals over the US border.
Was this sharp exchange a fight easily foretold? We’d argue that it was. It’s evidence of the emotions Trump’s immigration focus has unleashed. Given the nature of his campaign, and the anger of US Hispanics in response to it, further such clashes may be inevitable.
But for Republicans, this is a Trump problem, not a party problem, at least for now. That’s what a new Gallup poll shows. Trump is highly disliked by Hispanics, with a net favorability score of minus-51. Other GOP hopefuls fare much better.
“Hispanics’ views of most GOP candidates range from mildly positive to mildly negative. The sole exception is Trump, whose favorability rating with Hispanics is deeply negative,” writes Gallup’s Lydia Saad.
As for Trump, he remains unapologetic. On NBC's "Today" show on Wednesday, he said that Ramos was “totally out of line” and he was disrespecting other reporters by asking questions out of turn.
Of course, The Donald seems animated by personal feuds, as do his supporters. Belligerence may be the core of his personal appeal. If anything, Trump voters like him more after seeing clips of him insulting other people. That’s what GOP pollster Frank Luntz says occurred during a focus group of Trumpians he held this week.
Ramos, for his part, is a journalist with a point of view. He’s a naturalized US citizen who’s one of Univision’s most-watched and respected on-air personalities. He’s also an increasingly vocal supporter of immigration reform.
“It’s a role that has helped him cross over into English-language news, but also blurred the line between journalist and activist,” writes Michael Miller of The Washington Post.
Conservatives use tougher language to describe Ramos, who supports a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently in the US.
“He’s the most shameless amnesty shill in American media,” writes Allahpundit at the right-leaning Hot Air.
For his part, Trump wants to force Mexicans to personally pay for a border wall with dollars from the remittances they send back home. Given that, we’d say the feud between this pair might surpass that between Trump and Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly in intensity.
Whether it harms the GOP is another question. Republican figures in Washington remain deeply worried about Trump’s effect on their efforts to woo Latino voters.
“If I were in charge of Latino outreach for the RNC, I believe I would have watched the video last night and had an unhappy hour of about ten tall drinks,” writes left-leaning Ed Kilgore at The Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog.
But as we noted above, the evidence is that this issue has yet to hurt the other GOP candidates. Jeb Bush has a plus-11 favorability rating among Hispanics, according to Gallup. Marco Rubio’s is plus-five.
“Trump has a highly unfavorable image among US Hispanics, but at least for now, this doesn’t seem to be tarnishing the rest of the Republican field,” according to Gallup.