Aguirre Ferré Won’t Say If She Has Difficulty Defending Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally on June 18 in Phoenix. (Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press)

The Republican National Committee’s top Hispanic media spokeswoman declined to say Sunday whether she’s uncomfortable defending her party’s presumed presidential nominee, Donald Trump, despite previously critical comments about him.

Helen Aguirre Ferré became the RNC’s director of Hispanic communications this month amid a shakeup in which her successor quit amid discomfort with Trump’s candidacy and his controversial comments about Latinos and other minorities. Aguirre Ferré previously worked for the GOP presidential campaign of former Florida governor Jeb Bush and spent most of the past year on television and social media raising doubts about Trump’s viability and blasting him for sexist and racist remarks.

But Aguirre Ferré defended the party line in her first Sunday show interview since taking the job. She was asked about comments by House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Republican delegates to the party’s national convention can try to do whatever they want to change the party rules, even if that means finding a way to rob Trump of the party nomination.

Speaking on Telemundo’s “Enfoque with Jose Diaz-Balart,” Aguirre Ferré said in Spanish that “Everyone has to make their own decision in this campaign, and that isn’t different from any other year. The Republican Party, like I said, is united in defeating Hillary Clinton and that is what unites all of us.”

But Diaz-Balart noted that Republicans are united behind Trump, citing Aguirre Ferré’s previous comments about the candidate. He also reminded her that she had deleted several tweets critical of Trump just before taking the RNC job. He asked: Does she have difficulty representing the GOP when Trump is the party’s standard-bearer?

“Look, the Republican Party and the work of the Republican National Committee is to represent the Republican Party, and we support all of our candidates and I’m proud to be a member of the Republican Party,” Aguirre Ferré said in Spanish. “There is little doubt that we’re united in defeating Hillary Clinton. And if I could say something, Jose: I haven’t done anything to eliminate what you could see in a tweet or email that you would have to see with national security clearance or less. That’s what Hillary Clinton did in the past – she’s under criminal investigation by the FBI. So, I think that you have to speak clearly about what unites us and clearly we are united to support all of the Republican candidates.”

“Including Trump?” Diaz-Balart asked.

“Yes, Trump is the presumed nominee for the Republican Party,” Aguirre Ferré responded. “You’re going to see a strong force that gives him what he needs to defeat Hillary Clinton.”

Aguirre Ferré is a longtime Republican operative who has worked for several GOP campaigns, including Mitt Romney’s 2012 run. She previously hosted a Spanish-language radio show for the Univision radio network and serves as an analyst of the Univision television network.

Given her previous statements about Trump, her decision to join the RNC shocked many close associates and Hispanic political consultants in both parties who know her well.

Back home in Miami, Aguirre Ferré — whose father-in-law was the first Latino mayor of the city — is facing pressure to step down from her role as a member of the board of trustees of Miami Dade College, the region’s powerful university system. Several immigrant advocacy organizations have called on her to step down given her new RNC role, but university officials continue to support her.

“I will not cow to political pressure.”

EdOkeefeEd O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign. He’s covered presidential and congressional politics, Congress and federal agencies and spent a brief time covering the Iraq war.




Your Editor Asks: Can Aguirre continue to be a community leader and simultaneously a spokesperson for Trump’s Republican Party?

Politicians Are Wrong About Latinos


Economic uncertainty and our unsettled politics lead the news today, but the most consequential business story is the one not told. It is the good news story of a group of Americans – Latinos – who have been quietly and increasingly powering U.S. economic growth, both as job creators and as consumers. As the U.S. population ages, and as we struggle against the headwinds of an anemic global economy, U.S. Latinos are forming the core of America’s New Mainstream Economy. A handful of simple facts tell the story.

First, U.S. Latino buying power is huge, and rising fast. We already enjoy $1.5 trillion in annual purchasing power. That number has been growing much more quickly than the purchasing power of the general U.S. population – 70 percent more quickly over the last 25 years.


I see the effects throughout the economy. According to a National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals report, Latinos accounted for half of the increase in owner households in the United States from 2000-2014. IHS Automotive reports that Latinos drove between 33 percent (Nissan) and 100 percent (Honda) of automakers’ retail sales growth in 2014. Colleagues in the C-suites of America’s largest retail companies all tell me the same story – Latinos are driving sales growth.

Second, U.S. Latinos are driving net new business formation, and new businesses mean new jobs. According to a Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative study, between 2007 and 2012 Latino-owned new business formation skyrocketed 47 percent while non-Latino net new businesses declined by two percent. Latinos account for one out of every five new entrepreneurs in the United States and Latino-owned businesses have grown at double the growth rate of all firms.

How are Latinos doing it? The answer is not immigration, notwithstanding the nonsense coming out of some presidential candidates’ mouths. The Pew Research Center reports that immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border shifted into reverse between 2009 and 2014, with more migrants leaving the United States than arriving.

Instead, we are doing it the old fashioned way. As earlier generations of Latino migrants have integrated into American culture – like generations of migrants before us – our hard work, our youth, our optimism and our commitment to our kids are all paying off today.

Latino kids are better educated than ever before. For the first time in our history, a Latino high school graduate today is just as likely as any other American to go to college. Better educated kids today mean higher-income households tomorrow.

And Latinos are young. According to Pew, the median age of Latinos is 29 years, compared to 43 years for non-Hispanic whites. That means Latinos are driving new household formation. We are also building the tax base that is increasingly supporting America’s retirees. By 2050, every 10 U.S. workers will support 3.4 retirees. Without Latinos, that number would rise to 4.8 retirees.

Even new immigrants are doing their part. According to the Wall Street Journal, every million new immigrants pays a net $500 billion over 25 years into the Social Security Trust Fund.

You might not know any of this if you did not look hard for it. The presidential campaign has taken a bizarre turn away from reality, with some candidates talking of Latinos as some kind of foreign threat to the United States to be managed with walls or with schemes to break apart Latino families.


It is time to move past these misunderstandings. It is critical that we open our eyes to real Latinos – optimistic Americans who are driving our New Mainstream Economy, young Americans who are starting our new families and increasingly well-educated Americans who will drive tomorrow’s American innovation.


Commentary by Sol Trujillo, the co-chairman of the Latino Donor Collaborative, a non-partisan NGO focused on raising awareness of Latinos’ contributions to the current and future success of the nation’s economy and society. Mr. Trujillo is the former CEO of Telstra, Orage and U.S. West – telecommunicaitons firms on three continents – and a trade advisor for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Your Editor Explains: The Collaborative was not created to help Latinos. It aims to benefit our entire society by making a case for our contributions.   

How Rising Latino Voters Will Drive a New Political Marketing Age


The 2016 presidential election may be a year away but the campaigns are already in full swing with Latino voters taking note! Many of the candidates are dominating the headlines for both good and bad reasons, particularly Donald Trump and his derogatory comments about the Latino community. If candidates haven’t learned yet, insulting the Latino community only empowers us to unite so our voices can be heard. It is imperative that the candidates realize how integral the Latino community is before Election Day- their campaigns and their hope of becoming the next president depend on it.

The Latino Voter Population Is The Biggest It’s Ever Been

We’ve heard it before: Latinos are quickly becoming the largest minority group in the nation. It is estimated that Latinos will represent 19 percent of the total U.S. population by 2020.  As the Latino population continues to grow, so does the Latino electorate. The number of eligible Latino voters is expected to reach 27 million next year (3 million more than 2012) while the Latino vote is expected to pass 13 million in the 2016 election.  With the rise in numbers, Latino voters could very likely determine who our next president will be.

The Issues Matter…But So Does Messaging

People typically vote for candidates based on their stance on issues such as immigration, economic policy, social issues, etc.  However, for those of us immersed in the multicultural marketing world, we know that how you message each community can be equally important.

Putting out an ad in Spanish doesn’t necessarily endear the Latino community to a certain candidate. Candidates need to understand our community – what issues matter to us, what values are important, how are you reaching us out, etc. While this may be a political landscape, it is the same message we tell our corporate clients about the Latino consumer. Different worlds but same rules apply.

The Rise of A New Hispanic, Political Marketing Age

For the past few elections, political candidates have begun to realize the power of Latino voters and started hiring Latino outreach staff to assist in their campaign efforts.  Who better to provide cultural insights and a marketing strategy than a Hispanic marketing agency? The same consumer we reach out to on a daily level from a brand sense is the same person voting at the polls. Could there be a rise of a new Hispanic political/marketing age? It seems the next year leading up to the 2016 presidential campaign may by very telling, especially for those watching the rising population of Latino voters.

To learn more about the importance of how to drive an effective message to the Latino community, follow Dieste, Inc. by subscribing to our newsletter. See how a full service Hispanic agency can help you provoke action.

About Half of Cuban Voters in Florida Backed Trump


By Jens Manuel Krogstad and Antonio FloresL Pew research


In Florida, Cubans were about twice as likely as non-Cuban Latinos to vote for Donald Trump. More than half (54%) supported the Republican president-elect, compared with about a quarter (26%) of non-Cuban Latinos, according to National Election Pool exit poll data.

A significant share of Cubans in Florida voted for Hillary Clinton – 41% – but this was far below the 71% of non-Cuban Latinos who backed the Democratic nominee. At the same time, the level of support for Trump among Cubans was similar to that of non-Latinos in the state (51%).
Overall, 35% of Latino voters in Florida supported Trump, but that share was down from 2012, when Mitt Romney won 39% of their vote.

Two-thirds (67%) of the nation’s 1.2 million Cuban eligible voters live in Florida, with many living in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area. But as Florida’s Latino eligible voter population has grown (reaching 2.6 million in 2014), the Cuban share of that population has declined to 31%. (The Puerto Rican share of the state’s Latino eligible population stands at 28%.)

Florida was once again a battleground state this year, which focused attention from the campaigns and nonpartisan groups on the Latino vote statewide. As a result, Latino turnout was up among early voters, according to news reports. And the Florida exit poll shows the share of the state’s voters who were Latino grew from 17% in 2012 to 18% in 2016.

While there is no exit poll data that shows how Cubans in Florida voted in 2008 or 2012, our National Survey of Latinos has found that Cuban registered voters have been shifting toward the Democratic Party for more than a decade.

Your Editor Explains: Gonzalo, you asked us from Mexico. Here are the facts.

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