Donald Trump and Jorge Ramos have been bickering so long, it’d make a good Univision reality show.
But one of Trump’s campaigners made a remark Tuesday that might come back to haunt The Donald even more than his own one-liners, all pre-tested to stir smoke and fury.
When Trump gave the 30-year news anchor a ratings boost by ejecting him from an Iowa press conference, Trump even threw in a network plug: “Go back to Univision.”
But when cameras followed Ramos, they picked up an uglier comment.
“You’re very rude … Get out of my country!” said a yet-unidentified middle-aged man in a sport jacket bearing a Trump button.
“From what I can tell, that was the moment that activated a lot of Hispanic voters who didn’t think the immigration issue affected them,” said Valerie Martinez-Ebers, a political science professor at the University of North Texas.
“That video has been going around on email and Facebook. It’s a racial comment. Here’s a U.S. citizen, one of the most successful Hispanics in America, being told to ‘go home.’”
Iowa Republicans and Trump campaign officials said they didn’t recognize the man. Earlier, a Trump spokesman dismissed “white power” shouts at an Alabama rally as simply part of a larger crowd “wanting to make America great again.”
At the University of Texas at Arlington, communications lecturer Julian Rodriguez pointed out that Telemundo is threatening Univision’s ratings and “every time Ramos has an exchange with Trump, his ratings go up.”
Rodriguez, news director of UTA’s Spanish-language news operation, said the Ramos-Trump story has been replayed in KUVN/Channel 23’s high-rated newscasts.
“Trump is putting ideas out there that he knows are going to make the Hispanic community mad and especially the media,” Rodriguez said and wrote on his blog, ElectroMedios.com.
“It’s clearly part of his strategy. It gives him traction. But this also hurts because people don’t get to listen to serious ideas from Republican candidates.”
Even Trump’s recent support from white nationalist leaders hasn’t hurt him yet.
After all, how can a David Duke endorsement hurt in a year when Ann Coulter has a bestselling book, ¡Adiós, America!?
Martinez-Ebers, the UNT professor, said Latinos worry what’s next: “Now the other guys have to act as crazy as Trump.”