Former President Barack Obama's remarks about evangelical Hispanics who voted for President Donald Trump are drawing backlash from quite a few people, including a US senator and the pastor who leads the world's largest Hispanic Christian organization.
On Wednesday, Obama appeared on New York City's "The Breakfast Club" radio show promoting his latest book. During the interview, he talked about the presidential election and brought up President Trump upsetting Democrat Joe Biden in states like Florida and Texas because of the votes of evangelical Hispanics.
"People were surprised about a lot of Hispanic folks who voted for Trump, but there's a lot of evangelical Hispanics," he said.
"The fact that Trump says racist things about Mexicans, or puts undocumented workers in cages, they think that's less important than the fact that he supports their views on gay marriage or abortion," Obama said during the interview.
The "cages" Obama referred to were built during his own administration as chain-link enclosures to temporarily house illegal immigrants at border facilities, according to the National Review and numerous other sources.
US Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said Obama's comments were "condescending."
"Ah yes, those Hispanic evangelicals. So backwards. Clinging to their guns and religion, you might say. Barack Obama still the most condescending corporate liberal in America," Hawley wrote on Twitter.
Ah yes, those Hispanic evangelicals. So backwards. Clinging to their guns and religion, you might say. Barack Obama still the most condescending corporate liberal in America https://t.co/IqUdbx5FB7
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 25, 2020
Another user also reminded Obama that it was he, not Trump, who built the cages.
"Hey @BarackObama - take a pause from the race-baiting & pandering that built your career & divided a nation to reflect on this: you built the chain-link facilities you call cages. #YouBuiltThat #StandUpForAmerica, "writes Chip Roy.
And another user named John Gage remarked about how Obama attempting to shame evangelical Hispanics for voting for Trump.
"Imagine if Romney tried shaming the white working class after his 2012 loss. That's exactly what Obama is doing here. Romney would have been laughed out of the room and we should treat Obama's vote shaming the same way," he wrote.
Imagine if Romney tried shaming the white working class after his 2012 loss. That's exactly what Obama is doing here.
Romney would have been laughed out of the room and we should treat Obama's vote shaming the same way. https://t.co/SVtehxOZCN
— John Gage (@johnrobertgage) November 25, 2020
Obama's comments also received a harsh response from the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC). The organization represents 42,000-plus US churches and many additional churches spread throughout Spanish-speaking countries.
"I'll tell you what I'm not thankful for this Thanksgiving: the ever-escalating close-mindedness of the Democrat Party. President Obama, whom I admire, is apparently angry because Hispanic Americans have minds of their own. As I have said at every opportunity, we are not - and will not be - beholden to the elephant or the donkey," Rodriguez said in a statement.
"A much more useful exercise for President Obama would have been to lead the Democrat Party to some humble self-reflection rather than further down the fundamentalist path of the leftist politics of exclusion. Bigotry is still bigotry even if it comes from President Obama," he continued.
"The question is whether the party of Biden is any different, or whether demands for conformity are being cleverly disguised under the guise of national unity," Rodriguez concluded.