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After wall, Trump tries to build bridges to Hispanics

Kevin Cirilli
Bloomberg News

Donald Trump and members of his campaign team met Saturday in New York with a newly convened Hispanic advisory board as the Republican presidential nominee looks for ways to broaden his support after making criticism of illegal immigrants a centerpiece of his campaign.

The Republican National Committee also was represented at the meeting, held in the 25th-floor boardroom of Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan. Trump later flew to Virginia to meet with law enforcement officials and hold a rally.

A cheery Trump greeted reporters in New York, accompanied by campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Bannon, the Breitbart News Network executive brought on this month as chief executive officer of Trump’s White House bid.

“The RNC joins the Trump campaign in recognizing the diverse group of Hispanic leaders who are generously giving of their time and talent to be a part of the National Hispanic Advisory Council for Trump,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. Republicans will “compete for every vote in every community,” he said.

Among Trump’s signature campaign proposals has been a promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico to keep out undocumented immigrants, and to make Mexico pay for it.

Trump’s plan for immigration reform says Mexican leaders have used “illegal immigration to export the crime and poverty in their own country(as well as in other Latin American countries).” The Mexican government “has taken the United States to the cleaners,” according to the document, one of seven position papers on Trump’s website.

In June, Trump said an Indiana-born federal district judge, Gonzalo Curiel, had “an absolute conflict” in a case involving Trump University because he is of Mexican heritage.

A Fox News poll released Aug. 11 showed 66 percent of registered Latinos preferred Democrat Hillary Clinton, compared with 20 percent who favored Trump. President Barack Obama won the Latino vote over Republican Mitt Romney by 71 percent to 27 percent in 2012, according to an analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center.

The RNC called those present at Saturday’s meeting “a diverse group” including business, civic and religious leaders. The 23 council members came from the following states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Texas and Virginia.

The Republican made headlines on Friday with an attempt at outreach to black voters during a rally in Dimondale, Michigan.

“What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? What do you have to lose?” Trump said. “You’re living in poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?”

Marlon Marshall, the Clinton campaign’s director of state campaigns and political outreach, said in an e-mailed response that “Trump painting the entire community as living in poverty with no jobs continues to show he is completely out of touch with the African American community.”

In Stafford, Virginia, about 45 miles south of Washington, Trump met Saturday with about a dozen officers from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, including Deputy Sheriff Brandon Boyle, 25, who was shot multiple times during a breaking-and-entering case in June. “Thank you for your service,” Trump said to Boyle.

On Thursday, Clinton met with several law enforcement officials in New York, including the chiefs of police from New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.