Clinton, Trump Address National Hispanic Evangelical Conference

Barb Wire

Democratic and Republican presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump addressed hundreds of Latino Evangelical Christians Friday evening.

The candidates addressed the crowd via video messages at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) Latin Leaders Fest Convention in Anaheim, California. The NHCLC leads a network of more than 40,000 churches across the United States.

The organization’s president, Samuel Rodriguez, told The Washington Post earlier this week that he would only air Trump’s video if he thought it was respectful to Latinos and the country’s immigrants.

The videos were shown during the opening session of the Latin Leaders Fest, an event designed to help Hispanic Christian leaders execute action-oriented initiatives.

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Dr. Carlos Campo, president of Ashland University and NHCLC Chair of the Alliance for Hispanic Education, introduced both videos.

“We are not a political organization, nor would we ever endorse a candidate, but we do want to give them the opportunity to speak to our congregants, to address our organization,” said Campo. “Our response to these videos is our response generally, which is prayer. We are a people of prayer.”

The videos were played in alphabetical order by last name with no implied or overt endorsement.

Clinton opened with Galatians 6:9 and shared how her faith and the lessons she learned from her family and church have helped guide her every day of the campaign.

She then spoke of standing up for families who “live in fear of being broken apart” and “still live paycheck to paycheck.”

Clinton offered solutions including raising the minimum wage, creating good paying jobs and giving access to quality education –no matter one’s zip code.

Trump also addressed vital issues critical to Hispanics, including jobs, creating better schools and safer communities, as well as cutting taxes for the poor and curbing government debt.

He also briefly addressed the issue of immigration, speaking to the need to stop drugs from pouring into the country, strengthen the nation’s borders and allow immigrants to come in legally through a process.

“Our country’s going to be unified for the first time in a long time,” Trump said. “National Hispanic Christian, three great words. We’re going to take care of you. We’re going to work with you. You’re going to be very happy.”

Last month, Rodriguez told CBN News that Trump’s rhetoric on immigration has been “counter-productive” but that he did not believe the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is a racist.

Time magazine is reporting that a representative for the NHCLC met with Trump May 11 and said that he showed “tremendous understanding and concern for the undocumented immigrants.”

His ability to woo Rodriguez and NHCLC members could undermine that expectation because some Latino evangelical leaders continue to distance themselves from Trump.

“As Latino evangelicals we will not sit idly by nor support Mr. Trump or any other candidate who uses xenophobic demagoguery, misogynistic language or uncivil discourse as part of their political speech,” Dr. Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, said recently.

“The reality is we live in interesting times,” said Rodriguez. “The Latino demographic has become critical in light of this year’s election. At the end of the day, we will vote, and that vote might be the determining factor.”

Report via CBN News

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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