At a recent press conference, would-be Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his campaign team sparked controversy after security ejected a leading Mexican-American anchor from the Q&A and a Trump staffer told him to “get out of my country” in the hallway outside the conference.
Univision has long been the No. 1 network among Hispanics in the United States, and is becoming the most watched prime time network in the country, taking on competition in the form of ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. Long-serving Jorge Ramos, who was pressing Trump on his anti-immigration policies at the time he was evicted, is its main anchor.
When Ramos stood up and said: “I'd like to talk about immigration” at the August 24 press conference in Dubuque, Iowa, Trump responded by ramping up his anti-immigrant rhetoric. The erudite Ramos stopped him in his tracks.
Struggling to maintain concentration, Trump appeared to signal to security to deal with Ramos. Ramos was subsequently ejected from the conference. Their first exchange is below:
Ramos’ first question was stark and simple: How did Trump propose to deport 11 million people from the United States?
Instead of answering, Trump told him: “Sit down” and “Go back to Univision.” Ramos persevered and asked how Trump intended to finance a wall across the Mexican border and justify the mass deportation of US-born children.
As security escorted Ramos from the room, the anchor could be heard saying: “Don’t touch me. I am a reporter. I have a right to ask questions.”
In a video released by Univisión, Ramos was shown being accosted in the hallway by a male Trump staffer, who sneered “Univision” and said: “Get out of my country.”
Ramos responded that he was an American citizen, to which the staffer responded: “Whatever.”
Later, a young woman who identified herself as another Trump staffer approached Ramos and asked if he would like to return to the press conference, admonishing him to “wait until you are called upon…. I’m sure he’ll call upon you.”
After Ramos was readmitted to the conference, Trump said ostentatiously: “Good to have you back.”
Ramos began to speak:
You cannot deport [11 million] people. You cannot deny citizenship to their children. You cannot build a wall…
At this point Trump asserted that “a lot of people think” those things could be done through an Act of Congress, and then digressed to a discussion of pregnant women crossing the border within a day of giving birth, using the derogatory term “anchor babies”.
Ramos then said: “Nobody is going to build a 1900 mile wall”, to which Trump replied: “I’m a builder.”
The real estate developer cum reality television entertainer referred to his “94 story buildings” over Ramos’s interjections: “What’s more complicated is building a building that’s 95 stories tall.”
Trump then moved on to the subject of drugs coming across the border: “They have pictures… coming over the fences which are this high. There are fences which are not as tall as I am.”
Trump asserted that Border Patrol was not being allowed to stop people at the border, and when Ramos managed to ask if he was intending to call in the military, Trump suddenly changed course and asked Ramos if he agreed “that there are gangs”: “Do you agree that there are some bad ones or do you think that everyone is just perfect?”
Trump then switched to calling out locations salient to the Black Lives Matter movement without clearly making the connection with Latinos or the Mexican border:
“They looked at gangs in Baltimore. They looked at gangs in Chicago. They looked at gangs in Ferguson.”
As Ramos attempted to return to his question, Trump exclaimed: “I can’t deal with this” and began addressing another reporter.
On Friday’s 4 pm EST edition of the Univisión program El gordo y la flaca, Ramos told presenters: “I hope it’s easier to talk to you than it is to talk to Donald Trump.”
Speaking in Spanish, Ramos brought up the following points:
“11 million people. Are you going to put people in stadiums?”
“75% of Latinos have a negative view of Donald Trump.”
When asked if he thought he had spoken out of turn, Ramos tried to explain how press conferences function:
Sometimes people are called, sometimes people speak out. Nobody else was talking when I asked my question. I asked my question, he didn’t like my question and he tried to cut me off.
This was the first time in my 30 year career as a reporter that I have been removed from a press conference.
This is not Donald Trump’s country. It is our country.
If we as reporters do not take a stand and ask the difficult questions, we are not doing our job.
When asked if he thought Trump could possibly be the next president of the United States, Ramos said he had no idea.
It is a grave error not to take Donald Trump seriously. His ideas are very dangerous.… Many millions of Americans think the way he does, and this is what is very dangerous.
They blame immigrants…. We need to make sure that we will not accept this sitting down…. There comes a moment to confront that.
When asked if he believes he will ever have a sit-down interview with Trump, he said he doubted it despite the fact that Trump was “someone so outspoken.”
In conclusion, Ramos said that “16 million Latinos will be able to go to the polls in the next election and it is very important for Latinos to come out and vote.”
I'm a reporter. My job is to ask questions. What's “totally out of line” is to eject a reporter from a press conference for asking questions
— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) August 26, 2015