Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump used different tactics to appeal to evangelical Christian Hispanics this weekend, with the Democratic hopeful presenting a message of policy and faith while the presumptive GOP nominee tried to explain how his platform would benefit minorities.
The two messages, aired in videos presented at the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference in Anaheim, California, on Friday, come at a time when a new Fox News Latino poll found Clinton enjoying a nearly 40-point lead over Trump among Hispanics, a critical and growing voting bloc.
In her video, Clinton vowed to raise the minimum wage, create new jobs and offer quality education to all Americans. She talked about how she wants to pass comprehensive immigration reform, taking a thinly veiled swipe at Trump, though she didn’t mention him by name.
“You know, we’re hearing some divisive and dangerous rhetoric in this election,” she said. “We have a candidate who wants to tear families apart and forcibly deport 11 million undocumented immigrants … that is not who we are as a people.”
Clinton, a Methodist, also stressed the importance of religion, saying she’s been a “person of faith” her entire life.
“The lessons I’ve learned from my family and church guide me every day of this campaign,” she said.
In Trump’s video, which appeared to have been filmed on a cell phone on his personal plane, he spoke of how his immigration platform would help Hispanics. Strengthening borders and renegotiating trade deals, he said, would address unemployment among minorities.
“The world is taking our jobs and we’ve got to stop it,” he said in the video, looking occasionally at a paper he was holding. “We’re going to take care of minority unemployment. It’s a huge problem, it’s really unfair to minorities, and we are going to solve that problem.”
Trump did not mention religion or his controversial proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee earlier this month, Trump has begun reaching out to Hispanics in an effort to heal relations with a community that widely distrusts him.
Earlier this month, Trump was widely panned after tweeting on Cinco de Mayo, “Happy #CincoDeMayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”
The NHCLC is non-partisan evangelical Christian organization that represents 40,000 churches in the United States. The group’s chair, Carlos Campo, said the organization will not endorse a candidate but wanted to offer the two likely general election contenders a chance to address the group.