WOODBURY - The refusal by some Republican candidates for president to condemn recent comments by Donald Trump on Mexican immigrants may cause a mass departure from the party, according to Hispanic groups.
During his campaign announcement, Trump said, "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
Giovanni Mata, the former chairman of the Suffolk County Hispanic Advisory Board, says voters "won't soon forget" the candidates who have refused to condemn the remarks.
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"That means that they are either accepting his remarks, or are in agreement with what he stated," Mata told News 12.
The GOP is already struggling to court Hispanic voters. The last Republican presidential candidate to gain even 40 percent of the Hispanic vote was George W. Bush in 2004.
Mike Dawidziak, a political consultant who works primarily for Republicans, says the worst thing the other GOP candidates can do is to just sit on their hands.
"I think the other candidates should be distancing themselves from these types of statements," said Dawidziak.