The US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the biggest Latino business organization in the country, says Trump agreed to participate in a Q&A this month but cancelled out of nowhere because, the Chamber posits, he was afraid of alienating the frenzied anti-Latino masses that form much of his base.

The Chamber represents a bipartisan coalition of businesses worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and has hosted both Republican and Democratic candidates in its Q&A series. Trump disputes the accusation that he cancelled, saying he never formally agreed to speak to the organization. But Javier Palomarez, US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO, told CNN, “Clearly, the decision to withdraw from the Q&A was motivated out of fear. This further disqualifies him as a serious candidate in the eyes of the Hispanic community.”

NBC reports further:

USHCC spokesman Ammar Campa-Najjar said Friday Trump withdrew his participation in the session that has featured three other presidential candidates from both parties and will host a fourth on Tuesday, because Trump was concerned he would be “put on trial” and was unwilling to abide by terms and conditions of the candidate series.

Michael Cohen, an attorney and adviser to Trump, was not immediately available for comment when contacted by NBC News.

In a statement, the chamber said it refused to change the format of the Q&A session, show favoritism, exclude any issues or topics or “grant immunity from objective scrutiny of his policies.”

While the Chamber says it intends to treat Trump the same as it’s treated any other interviewee—and, with both Republicans and Democrats in its ranks, there’s no reason to believe otherwise—Trump’s alleged concerns show a very valid crack of fear in his blustery charade, with the knowledge that one of America’s biggest voting blocs is not feeling his racist rhetoric. While Trump insists he never agreed to the event in the first place, it seems strange that he wouldn’t just do it anyway, considering it’s a business organization—and businesspeople, as Trump loves to remind us, are his people.

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Perhaps tellingly, this fracas comes after Campa-Najjar told Politico that the Chamber would indeed press Trump on policies that affect Latinos, particularly his plan to deport immigrants—which, Campa-Najjar said, was fiscally irresponsible:

“I’ve been tight-lipped for a while, but I’ve got to speak up now,” said Campa-Najjar. “It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad that this man is leading in the polls and that this is his idea for a fiscally responsible, fair and feasible plan for dealing with immigrants.”

Citing its $400 billion price tag, Campa-Najjar said Trump’s immigration plan is a fiscal loser. He added, “The deporting thing is so absurd that no one can get behind it and he needs to explain how that’s going to work.”

Explaining how a policy is meant to work from a practical standpoint is usually what presidential candidates have to do; the fact that Trump hides or sidesteps whenever he is pressed on that front is indicative of his, yes, unseriousness as a candidate, even if it probably behooves us to take him as deadly serious as a viper about to strike.


Contact the author at julianne@jezebel.com.

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