Biden says Trump hates Latinos, in pitch for key vote

In a bid to secure the hispanic vote, US President Joe Biiden said his rival candidate and presidential hopeful Donald Trump hates the Latino community. Picture: Sergio FLORES and Brendan Smialowski / AFP

In a bid to secure the hispanic vote, US President Joe Biiden said his rival candidate and presidential hopeful Donald Trump hates the Latino community. Picture: Sergio FLORES and Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Published Mar 20, 2024


US President Joe Biden accused election rival Donald Trump of despising Latinos as the incumbent visited the battleground states of Nevada and Arizona on Tuesday, seeking to shore up support from the crucial demographic himself.

Polls show the historically Democratic Latino community is increasingly leaning towards Republican Trump, spelling trouble for Biden in swing states that he narrowly won in 2020 and needs again in November to secure a second term.

"I mean, this guy despises Latinos," Biden told Spanish-language broadcaster Univision in an interview broadcast Tuesday.

He highlighted former president Trump's repeated use of anti-immigrant rhetoric, such as describing migrants as "poisoning the blood of the country" and planning mass deportations if elected.

"Latinos were essential to my win in 2020 and they'll be again essential," added Biden. "I'm working hard to earn their vote."

During his three-day swing to the western United States, Biden kicked off a special campaign called "Latinos con Biden-Harris" -- Latinos with Biden and his Vice President Kamala Harris -- featuring a major television ad drive.

The 81-year-old is also selling his economic record and highlighting issues such as abortion and immigration which Democrats believe are important to Latino voters.

Biden's campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement that the Latino vote is crucial for victory, and sought to draw a distinction with Trump by accusing him of having an "anti-Latino agenda."

In Nevada, Biden visited the gambling capitals of Reno and Las Vegas for a campaign event and a speech on housing costs.

He tried to counter the twice-impeached former president's claims that under Trump Americans were better off.

"As I travel the country, folks often tell me how back in 2020 they were down. They lost their business and lost faith in the system," Biden said during his speech in Las Vegas.

"But the laws we passed, the work we've done together, got them back on their feet," he added. "We have a lot more to do. For too many people, that dream of having a good home still feels out of reach. I get it."

Biden then flew to Phoenix, Arizona, for the Latino campaign launch, and a manufacturing announcement due Wednesday.

The president was greeted with shouts of "Viva Biden!" as he met and sat with voters at a Mexican restaurant in the sprawling city.

"You're the reason why in large part I beat Donald Trump," Biden said, as supporters cheered. "I need you badly."

- Close race -

The Grand Canyon state was the closest race in their first battle four years ago, with Biden beating Trump by just 10,457 votes, or 0.3 percentage points.

Biden will wrap up his trip by heading to Dallas and Houston, both in Texas, for fundraising events on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Democrat trails 77-year-old Trump in a series of polls in six key swing states -- including Arizona and Nevada -- that are expected to decide their November 5 rematch.

Despite Trump's relentless anti-immigrant language, which also includes saying "rapists" and drug dealers were crossing the border from Mexico, the complex Latino electorate is turning more Republican.

Biden won Hispanic voters two-to-one over Trump in 2020, but a series of recent polls show this allegiance is starting to soften.

Many of them are second-generation migrants who are particularly concerned by the crisis on the Mexican border, especially in the frontier state of Arizona.

With the fast-growing Latino community making up 19 percent of the US population, that represents a problem for Biden.

He has dramatically stepped up attacks on Trump, who is seeking a historic White House comeback since they were both confirmed as their parties' nominees earlier this month.

Trump's campaign however has its own problems -- with the Republican facing having his assets seized after his lawyers admitted he doesn't have the cash to appeal a $464 million fine for fraudulently inflating his wealth.