Former President Barrack Obama invited a wave of criticism with remarks he made on a radio program about why President Donald Trump won a larger share of the Hispanic vote in the 2020 presidential election.
In his comments, Obama said that "evangelical Hispanics" ignored the "racist things" Trump says about Mexicans and how he put "undocumented workers in cages" because Trump agrees with them on gay marriage and abortion.
"People were surprised about a lot of Hispanic folks who voted for Trump, but there's a lot of evangelical Hispanics who, the fact that Trump says racist things about Mexicans, or puts detainees, undocumented workers in cages, they think that's less important than the fact that he supports their views on gay marriage or abortion," Obama said on "The Breakfast Club" radio show.
Obama on @breakfastclubam: “… There’s a lot of evangelical Hispanics who, the fact that Trump says racist things ab… https://t.co/lUH8nfu5U1— The Recount (@The Recount) 1606309730.0
Trump earned 32% of the Latino vote in the presidential election, improving his election margins in 78 of 100 Hispanic counties in key battleground states from 2016. As Obama noted, many political commentators were surprised that Trump performed so well with Hispanics despite the media narrative that his immigration policies and focus on border security are "racist" toward Mexicans and other Hispanics.
Critics were quick to point out that the policy of separating migrant children from their parents or adult accompaniment was carried out under the Obama administration and that the infamous picture of children in cages used to attack Trump's immigration enforcement policies was from 2014, when Obama was president.
Also, Obama publicly opposed gay marriage when he first ran for president in 2008 and it wasn't until just before the 2012 election that his views "evolved" to appease progressives. President Trump, on the other hand, was the first elected president to support gay marriage while he campaigned for office.
Hey @BarackObama - take a pause from the race-baiting & pandering that built your career & divided a nation to refl… https://t.co/0biXPTU4cL— Chip Roy (@Chip Roy) 1606312813.0
"[Barack Obama] sadly will not be fact-checked by the adoring media for this lie," said Richard Grenell, the first openly gay official to serve as acting director of National Intelligence under President Trump. "Obama ran for president saying he was against gay marriage. And he created the cages."
Others suggested Obama's comments were reminiscent to his 2008 statement on "bitter" working-class Americans who "cling" to guns and religion.
"Ah yes, those Hispanic evangelicals. So backwards. Clinging to their guns and religion, you might say," said Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). "Barack Obama still the most condescending corporate liberal in America."
"This is a great example of why Democrats are losing support in America's Hispanic community," said former Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo. "The comment is dismissive of millions of people and seems to diminish their faith. Regrettable at a time when the President-elect has called for healing and reconciliation."