On Sunday, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus insisted that Donald Trump knows that if Hispanic voters perceive him as wanting them out of the country, they won’t listen to him.
Priebus, appearing on Meet The Press with host Chuck Todd, was quoted the RNC’s 2013 party analysis, which reads: “If Hispanic-Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States, i.e. self deportation, they will not pay attention to our next sentence.” Then Priebus was asked if Trump understood that sentence.
The relevant exchange went like this:
Todd: … in the infamous 2013 autopsy, this is what was written in it. “If Hispanic-Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States, i.e. self deportation, they will not pay attention to our next sentence.” Do you think Donald Trump understands this analysis?
Priebus: I think he understands it completely.
Todd: And is that what this evolution is about?
Priebus: No, you know what? I don’t know what when you say, “what the evolution is all about.” What I think is that Donald Trump understands that with every position that is taken and as you get closer to the White House, a degree of humanity and decency is part of every decision that needs to be made. And I know Donald Trump. I know Donald Trump in private, I talk to him every day. I know what he’s thinking about a lot of these issues and this is a good and decent man that wants to do the right thing and wants to take every position that he’s talking about and pepper it with decency, dignity and humanity.
Preibus did not explain why, if Trump knew Hispanics would reject him en masse if he spoke of mass deportations, he made statements that championed that idea in the first place. His assertion that Trump would evince more humanity and decency as he neared the White House could certainly be used as a club by Hillary Clinton and her allies that Trump lacked those qualities before, which would certainly not help Trump’s cause.
Trump said in late June that he rejected the idea of mass deportations, asserting, “No, I would not call it mass deportations,” but in the past week he seemed to reverse himself again. Asked by Bill O’Reilly asked if he was reassessing his mass deportation strategy, Trump evaded answering, saying, said, “I just want to follow the law. What I’m doing is following the law.”