Accessibility links

Breaking News

Minorities at RNC Voice Support for Trump

Latino delegates wave signs for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, in Cleveland, July 21, 2016.
Latino delegates wave signs for Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, in Cleveland, July 21, 2016.

Despite what many have called "hateful" rhetoric of Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, many minorities attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this week to show their support for the New York businessman.

One of Trump's more famous proposals is to build a wall along the American border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants.

Olga Farnam, a self-described "full-blooded Hispanic" works for the Washington State Republican Party and told VOA she supports Trump, not in spite of his plan to build the wall, but because of it.

"Donald Trump, my number one thing for him is that he’s going to build a wall. And immigration has been a problem in this country for years. I used to live in a border city in El Paso, Texas and I first handedly watched what immigration did to that city," said Farnam, whose grandparents are all from Mexico.

She recounted personal stories of women who came to El Paso to give birth and then return to Mexico where they continued to claim welfare money from the U.S.

Law and order was another issue that was high on Trump's speech agenda as he addressed the convention and officially accepted the nomination.

David Clarke, an African-American sheriff in Wisconsin said he is voting for Trump because safety is his priority.

"Everything rises and falls on safety - everyone wants to be safe. This is an issue that transcends race, ethnicity, gender, religion, lifestyle, age – everybody wants a safe environment," he said. "What Donald Trump has done – he has made it clear from the beginning that he would be a law and order candidate; that he would support the police - it starts there. Donald Trump knows the importance of the protection of the rule of law."

"That’s got to stop. We need to take care of our own – there are so many homeless people here, so many people without because we’re worried about taking care of the people that are not citizens."

Farnam's colleague in Washington state, Hossein Khorram, is an Iranian-American voting for Trump because Khorram believes Trump will fight for the Kurdish minority in the Middle East and Turkey.

“We’re going to vote for Donald Trump because Trump is going to rescue the Kurds from ISIS and Daesh," Khorram said. "Obama’s policies have failed; the Kurdish women are getting stolen and tortured and raped by the ISIS and the Islamists and the time has come to stop this. Anybody voting for Hillary Clinton would be a continuation of the failed Obama policies which is gonna lead to more rape, more torture, more suicide bombing. So to my fellow friends in Kurdistan – victory is near. If Trump wins you’ll be liberated – I will promise you this."

Trump has had questionable popularity with Muslims after calling for a ban on Muslims from entering the country, as well as putting mosques under surveillance. But a number of Muslims showed their support for Trump at the convention this week.

Vakas Khan, a physician and a donor to Trump’s campaign, said that though he understands Muslims are wary of Trump's rhetoric, he says addressing immigration is key, and he thinks many Muslims have a "huge misunderstanding" of the true meaning of Trump's statements.

"There’s a lack of communication between both sides," he said. "We are here to build the bridges not burn them. And for that reason you can see Mr. Trump's statements about Muslims are being softened on an everyday basis and I’m hoping that very soon he will be able to differentiate between a radical Muslim and a peace-loving, America-loving Muslim."

Dr. Nassar, a Pakistani-American from Michigan attending the convention agreed with Khan, saying that while he understood many Americans are put off by Trump's often harsh comments, he is the best candidate to keep everyone safe.

"The thing is we've come so far - this is our home now. We have to protect it, right?"

VOA's Spanish, Urdu, and Kurdish services contributed to this report.