CONTINUING COVERAGE: FLOODS OF 2016

Prominent Latino Withdraws Support from Donald Trump

WASHINGTON — A prominent Latino surrogate for Donald Trump announced Thursday he had officially withdrawn his support from the Republican presidential nominee after the real estate mogul resumed his hard-line immigration position in a major policy speech in Arizona.

Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles President Alfonso Aguilar told CNN he felt disappointed and misled by Trump and his campaign after recent speculation the Republican nominee would soften his stance on undocumented immigrants.

“For the last two months, he said he was not going to deport people without criminal records,” Aguilar told CNN’s Carol Costello on “Newsroom.” “And then we heard yesterday, and I was totally disappointed — not surprised, but disappointed — and slightly misled, because he gave the impression and the campaign gave the impression until yesterday morning that he was going to deal with the undocumented in a compassionate way.”

Trump on Wednesday returned to the same immigration rhetoric that saw him clinch the GOP nomination, telling an audience in Phoenix that there would be “no amnesty” for undocumented migrants living in the United States under his presidency.

Aguilar, who has been critical of Trump’s tone and posture on race and immigration in the past, slammed Trump for his plan, with Aguilar describing it as being “even worse than what he initially proposed.”

“They’re going to leave the country, self-deport or be removed, and there’s no guarantee that they will return,” Aguilar said. “I mean that speech was a restrictionist speech. And I just think he’s embraced Jeff Sessions and people like Ann Coulter and forgotten about building a coalition to win this election. I’m so sorry, but I just can’t be part of that.”

But Aguilar remained adamant that he would still not vote for Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, in November.

“I mean, people who think that she’s (Clinton) committed to immigration reform, she’s misleading them just like Donald Trump misled us,” Aguilar said. “So, look, I don’t think we have a good choice right now. I think I have to talk to our coalition of leaders and figure out, you know, what our next step is, but certainly, it’s not going to be to support Trump nor Hillary Clinton.”

Aguilar’s announcement follows a report by Politico on Wednesday that high-profile Latino Trump surrogates, including Trump National Hispanic Advisory Council member Jacob Monty, were wavering in their support after the address at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Monty also officially distanced himself from the Republican Party’s standard-bearer Thursday, telling CNN he had stepped down from the council.

“We need more security but when he called for the deportation of (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, that is just unrealistic, cruel, (and) not productive for the economy because they’re working, they’re going to school,” Monty told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday. “And the biggest thing for me was when he completely punted on the issue of what to do with the 11 million, when we discussed that with him.”

Monty added, “And when I saw that, I had to resign because I’m not going to be a prop for his image like the president of Mexico was yesterday.”

Monty said he too was not prepared to vote for Clinton and had decided not to vote for either of the candidates at the top of the ticket, supporting Republicans further down the ballot instead.