Editor’s Note: Border native Rudy Ruiz is the author of “Seven for the Revolution” (Milagros Press), recent winner of four 2014 International Latino Book Awards, including first place for best popular fiction. He is CEO of Interlex, an advocacy marketing agency based in San Antonio. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
Donald Trump allowed star Univision anchor to be thrown out of his press conference
Rudy Ruiz: The candidate's performance was condescending and invoked a racial stereotype
If you don’t know who Jorge Ramos is, or respect his role in American media, you’re really not fit to be president.
After ejecting Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos from a news conference Tuesday evening, Donald Trump characterized him as a “very emotional person” and claimed not even to know who he was. Later, after symbolically deporting Ramos from the press event, Trump magnanimously allowed him back into the room to bully him from the pulpit.
Talk about three strikes and you’re out.
Originally, Trump refused to answer Ramos’ question about his plans to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, many of whom are Latinos. Given how outrageous, disruptive and threatening this controversial policy position is, by initially refusing to respond to Ramos, Trump was avoiding answers to pressing questions keeping millions of people up at night.
That is an example of Trump’s brazen bullying and fear mongering, personality traits that make him unfit to govern a nation whose ideals include human rights and decency, freedom and the pursuit of happiness. He has no convincing answers because he knows his proposed approach to dealing with undocumented immigrants is unrealistic. And any actual attempt to implement such a mass deportation would result in witch hunts and war zones all over our country, horrific scenes that would play out like surreal flashbacks to regrettable and tragic moments in history. Any time a government has tried to round up millions of people and relocate them against their will, things haven’t gone very well.
When Trump allowed Ramos back into the room, he couldn’t resist the impulse to aggrandize himself at the expense of others, commenting that he had a bigger heart than Ramos.
Trump not only ejected but also dismissed Ramos as if he were little more than an irritating nuisance, an out-of-control hothead, calling him a “very emotional person.” As a Latino, the ejection and subsequent characterization stood out to me as racist actions right off the bat.
For starters, Trump’s most attention-getting and rabble-rousing diatribe has been delivered at the expense of undocumented Latino immigrants. So who gets thrown out of his news conference? The Latino. How many other Latino journalists were in that room? Do you think the percentage was commensurate with our share of the population? How negatively impactful is it to have one of our leading voices silenced – and then bullied – in that room? How damaging is that to the image of all Latinos?
But to add insult to injury, Trump had to put the blame on Ramos by undermining his character. Of course, running high on emotions and being loud, colorful and boisterous are stereotypes of Latino behavior. Thanks, Donald. Just what we all needed. You want to deport 11 million of us Latinos. And now you characterize one of our most visible luminaries as overly emotional, hence an unprofessional hindrance to be removed from your press conference. Characterizing someone as “emotional” is to undermine their credibility as “rational,” which is at the core of a journalist’s reputation and integrity.
Of course, Jorge Ramos is passionate about what he does. But he is first and foremost an award-winning reporter, top-rated anchorman and best-selling author. And he channels his passions through a highly professional lens. His question was indeed a rational one and aimed at getting to the truth behind Trump’s vitriolic war against undocumented Latino immigrants.
By silencing Ramos’ voice and then using a racial stereotype to dismiss the importance of his presence at the event, Trump sank even lower in his ongoing battle against all Latinos and all Americans who wish to live in a society devoted to ending racial and ethnic inequalities, disparities and discrimination. His actions and comments are an insult to us all. And the fact that he let Ramos back into the room only to talk down to him from the stage and drown him out with his bluster only emphasized the dynamic of the rich, white demagogue controlling the environment and setting the rules for the disenfranchised, marginalized minority. So much for the post-Obama, post-racial world.
In his own defense, Trump claimed he did not know who Jorge Ramos was. That’s just a huge lie.
Ramos is not only the most visible anchorman of the top Hispanic news network nationwide, but he is also a frequent guest on English-language news shows and even a moderator and panel member in past presidential debates. He is like the Hispanic Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow.
On top of that, Trump himself condescendingly instructed Ramos to “go back to Univision,” the network he happens to be suing for $500 million over the Miss Universe flap. Ramos has been pressing Trump for an elusive interview for weeks. It’s downright unbelievable that Trump did not know who Ramos was.
Donald Trump's rise
A president must be a leader for all us, regardless of race, ethnicity or religion. How in the world could a President Trump be inclusive of Hispanics when he wants to get rid of a big chunk of our population and doesn’t even recognize or – more importantly – respect the face of one of our most trusted and respected journalists?
For me, Trump’s been “out” since the moment he jumped into the race. Pundits keep waiting for him to convince everyone finally just how unfit he is to lead. Trump’s latest antics expose who he really is: a bullying bigot. Ramos should not have been ejected from that event. But Trump should be thrown out of the presidential race. Hopefully the Republican Party will find a way to do just that.