CLEVELAND ― Most endorsements announced at party conventions are in support of that party’s pick for president, or at the very least someone in the party.
So it was a particularly obvious snub to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump when the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce chose to announce its support of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the middle of the Republican National Convention.
That’s in the middle almost literally ― the announcement Wednesday will be made by Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, in a CNN interview from Cleveland.
The Hispanic Chamber has not endorsed in previous presidential elections, but chose to do so this year after frequent criticism of Trump. The organization endorsed Clinton in the Democratic primary and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Republican primary back in April.
Palomarez told The Huffington Post ahead of the formal announcement of the endorsement that it was motivated by Clinton’s understanding of small businesses, outreach to Latinos, and her record. But it’s also partially about Trump.
“We believe it is appropriate for us to weigh in and say enough is enough,” Palomarez said, after criticizing “what we’re hearing from Donald Trump in his campaign: divisive, mean-spirited language [that] has marginalized Hispanics, immigrants, American POWs, Muslims, women, the disabled ― and the list goes on.”
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce joined a boycott of Trump brands after he said in his first speech as a candidate last summer that Mexico was sending criminals and rapists across the border. The business group said it would no longer consider Trump hotels for its conventions.
Trump met with Palomarez in September and tried to push back on the idea that he was anti-Latino. But they publicly sparred again a month later, when Trump canceled a planned appearance with the Hispanic chamber. The group held similar question-and-answer sessions with Clinton and Kasich, along with Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, and Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley.
Clinton not only participated in the event, but her campaign has reached out repeatedly to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to recommend business leaders to meet with in various communities, Palomarez said.
“The clear choice between these two candidates as to which is better prepared to be the leader of the free world” is Clinton, he said.