In the seemingly never-ending saga between Donald Trump and Latinos, the business mogul-turned-presidential candidate has canceled plans to attend a Q&A session with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The meeting was originally scheduled for next Thursday, Oct. 8, at the Newseum in Washington D.C.
A statement from the USHCC said Trump's "decision to forfeit the Q&A session was motivated by the concern of being 'put on trial.' "
The USHCC said Trump was unwilling to abide by the terms of the event:
"The USHCC refused to change the format of the forum, show any favoritism, exclude any issues or topics, or grant any immunity from objective scrutiny of his policies. As a result, despite having agreed on numerous occasions, Trump has now reversed his position and has elected to not participate in the Q&A Session — making him the only candidate from either party to do so."
Trump initially agreed to the Q&A session last month at a meeting with the chamber's president, Javier Palomarez, in New York. That earlier meeting came after Trump's first wave of controversial remarks on immigration, including calling Mexican immigrants "rapists" and "drug dealers" and releasing his plan to deport millions of immigrants and build a large wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump also riled Latinos after kicking Univision anchor Jorge Ramos out of a press conference (he later let him back in).
"Withdrawing from the Q&A can only suggest that Trump himself believes his views are indefensible before a Hispanic audience," the statement from the USHCC reads. A spokesman for the chamber also said it had previously "severed business relations" with Trump "indefinitely."
Trump's campaign told NPR via email that the candidate will be "speaking to a capacity crowd" in Nevada that day instead and that he remains committed to reaching out to Hispanics "in more genuine and productive ways":
"Donald J. Trump today announced he will not be participating in the October 8th USHCC (United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) Q&A, as requested by its President and CEO Javier Palomarez. Mr. Trump will be speaking to a capacity crowd at a campaign rally in Nevada on that date. Additionally, Mr. Palomarez continues to leverage the national media attention surrounding Mr. Trump to benefit his organization and exploit Mr. Trump to enlist additional support and increase interest and revenue in his coalition including asking Mr. Trump to join his chamber for a fee amounting to between $25,000 and $2 million dollars, which Mr. Trump refused to do. Mr. Trump remains committed to reaching out to the Hispanic Community in more genuine and productive ways as he continues to share his vision to Make America Great Again."
(For the record, the USHCC called Trump's statement about the fees "a lie.")
According to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 67 percent of Hispanics have a "very negative" opinion of Trump.
It's worth noting that despite Trump's decision to decline the USHCC invitation, other Republicans are still eagerly participating. Gov. John Kasich of Ohio is scheduled to participate in a similar Q&A session on Oct. 6 at the Newseum, the same venue where Trump was scheduled to be.