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Obama Claims Evangelical Latinos Disregarded Trump’s Racism Because of Views on ‘Abortion,’ ‘Gay Marriage’

President Barack Obama gestures during his first news conference as president in the East Room of the White House, February 9, 2009. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

Former President Obama claimed on Wednesday that evangelical Latino voters chose President Trump over Joe Biden because Trump backs their views on abortion and gay marriage.

While Trump lost the 2020 election, he gained support among Latino voters according to exit polls and voting data in counties with large Hispanic populations. For example, in 93-percent Hispanic Zapata County in Texas, Trump won by six percentage points while Hillary Clinton carried the county in 2016 by 33 percentage points.

“People were surprised about a lot of Hispanic folks who voted for Trump,” Obama commented on the podcast The Breakfast Club. “But there are a lot of evangelical Hispanics.”

Obama continued, “The fact that Trump says racist things about Mexicans or…puts undocumented workers in cages—they think that’s less important than [that] he supports their views on gay marriage or abortion.” (The “cages” Obama refers to were in fact built during his administration, as chain-link enclosures meant to temporarily house illegal immigrants at border facilities.)

Giancarlo Sopo, the Trump campaign’s director of rapid response for Spanish media, disputed Obama’s claim.

“Our Hispanic advertising and communications largely focused on economic issues, public safety, Latin America, and socialism,” Sopo wrote in an email to National Review. “We never ran a single ad that even mentioned gay marriage, and while our surrogates did address abortion in media appearances, our only advertising on the topic was limited to a modest radio buy in New Mexico. ”

According to Sopo, who was involved in the production of Spanish-language campaign advertisements, the campaign emphasized different topics for outreach to various Latino groups.

“In states like Texas and Arizona, where Latinos are predominantly Mexican-American, the President’s strong border policies and measures to combat poverty were very popular,” Sopo said. “Meanwhile, law and order was a top priority for voters in areas with large Puerto Rican communities, such as Orlando and Philadelphia.”

Meanwhile, Cuban and Venezuelan Americans have widely cited the “socialist” leanings of some progressive Democrats to explain their support for Trump.

Trump supported abortion rights before the 2016 campaign, but pivoted towards the pro-life movement and has courted the backing of pro-life organizations. The Trump campaign did not speak about marriage rights at all during the election.

Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), criticized Obama’s comments as “condescending.”

“Ah yes, those Hispanic evangelicals. So backwards. Clinging to their guns and religion, you might say,” Hawley wrote on Twitter. “Barack Obama still the most condescending corporate liberal in America.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.