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Texas Hispanic Republicans Chairman 'Very Disappointed' With Trump Campaign


This week, we're checking in with voters we met during the campaign to hear what they're doing and thinking now with just a couple of weeks before the election. Tomorrow Audie Cornish will talk with a couple of Democrats. I've spent most of this year talking with Republican voters, and we're going to hear from two of them now.

First, Artemio Muniz. We met at the Republican National Convention. He was a self-described leave-it-blank delegate, an uncommitted alternate delegate from Texas where he is chairman of the state's Federation of Hispanic Republicans. I spoke with him again yesterday.

Artemio Muniz, it's good to talk with you again.

ARTEMIO MUNIZ: Hi, Robert. Glad to be here today.

SIEGEL: At the convention in Cleveland, you told me that you couldn't get on board with Donald Trump at that time because of his immigration policy - specifically, his plan to deport millions of people living in the U.S. illegally. But you told me that you were hopeful he might say something that would bring you around. Has he done that?

MUNIZ: Well, you know, we were close. I had some friends that joined the Trump Council, the Hispanic Advisory Council. You know, and he told me he was confident that Trump would pivot. And then he went to Mexico to meet with the president. And then he had the speech. And I think the speech is what put the last nail in the coffin as - in terms of Hispanic engagement. Very disappointed with the Trump campaign at how they handled this. And they really let down conservatism in general. So at that point, I knew it was done. I couldn't support Trump.

SIEGEL: Well, if you're not going to vote for your party's presidential nominee, where have you been putting your efforts?

MUNIZ: Well, you know, there's someone that just popped up on the scene that I'm looking at. Evan McMullin looks pretty good from a classical liberal conservative standpoint. You know, and I applaud the conservative Mormon voters who are actually, in my opinion, are the last anchor toward the conservative movement at this point. I'm looking at him, or I'm still considering leaving it blank.

SIEGEL: I should say Evan McMullin is a conservative independent. He's on the ballot in many states and doing pretty well in the polls in Utah right now. Assuming that Evan McMullin does not win on November 8 and that it's going to be either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, what's the most important thing you'd like to see done by either President Trump or President Clinton?

MUNIZ: Well, absolutely got to work with the Republican-led Congress. I see a scenario playing out where if Trump wins, we still are going to have, I think, major policy differences. I think Republican Congress really needs to step in and back up Paul Ryan because we've really got to bring forth our fiscal responsibility principles. I think that's one thing we're going to see.

If it's Hillary, we're definitely going to have to play a lot of defense. But you know what? That actually might turn out to be not bad, like the way it was with Clinton and Newt Gingrich. We might have a situation where the Republicans play defense and we can steer the nation in the right direction.

SIEGEL: Nearly everyone says this presidential campaign has been at least very unusual, if not unique, in a variety of ways. If you were to try to finish the sentence the 2016 presidential race shows me that American democracy is - some would say rigged. Some would say broken. Some would say still vibrant despite all this. What - how would you finish that sentence?

MUNIZ: I would say waking up. I see a lot of the Trump supporters - I actually tip my hat to them because they're - to me, they're new people who are beginning to embrace their civic duty. What I will say is I think they've got to become healthier. In other words, they've really got to look at how the philosophy of conservatism works and understand that you're leaving a lot of allies behind. And if you want to have a majority coalition into the future, you've got to broaden your base. The idea of winning with just Caucasian voters will not work. Conservatism transcends all culture. We've got to work together.

SIEGEL: That's Artemio Muniz, who was an alternate delegate from Texas to the Republican National Convention, where we spoke for the first time. He spoke to us from Houston. Thanks for being on the program once again.

MUNIZ: Thank you, Robert, for having me today. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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