Hispanic Journalist Discusses Racist "Vitriol" He Has Received From Trump Supporters
Cleveland.com's Henry Gomez: The Attacks Are "Parroting A Lot Of Donald Trump's Greatest Hits"
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From the September 13 edition of CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:
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BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): Critics have called out Hillary Clinton for being politically incorrect but she wasn't wrong, they say, when she described half of Donald Trump's supporters as belonging in a basket of deplorables. Trump's campaign has demanded a full apology from the former secretary of state and my next guest says there's no way to quantify how many Trump supporters fit this "deplorable" description but he says he knows they're out there because he has heard from them personally. He is Henry Gomez, politics writer for Cleveland.com. Henry, thank you so much for being with me, and, you know, we all read your piece this morning. And so listen, we all know being a journalist -- I don't get pretty tweets and comments on my Instagram, so I feel you, but you said in, what, the last year that you have -- it's been horrendous, the comments you've been getting, why?
HENRY GOMEZ: Thanks for having me, Brooke. It's definitely intensified. I've been reporting and writing for 15 years, and my name appears with all of my stories, but I've noticed an uptick in the last year or so covering the presidential campaign, covering Donald Trump, and the emails that I'm getting, the tweets that I'm getting are taking on a tone -- they're parroting a lot of Donald Trump's greatest hits. I've had people tell me I should be on the other side of the wall. I've had a reader tell me that I should be disqualified from covering this election because of my ethnicity which, of course, mirrors what Donald Trump said about the judge in the Trump University case. And whether or not they're Trump fans, a lot of them admit they are Trump supporters, they are using his language and they are borrowing from the same things that he's saying about Mexican immigrants.
BALDWIN: And you think this is because your last name is Gomez?
GOMEZ: Well, it's out there on my byline, and they have no way of knowing this other than my last name. I am of Mexican heritage. I'm also of Italian, German, and Irish heritage, but it's the "Gomez" that appears in the paper. And a lot of the e-mails and the tweets and the comments on the articles, they emphasize the last name, they emphasize "Gomez." They say I should go back, meaning go back to Mexico. So it is, in fact, true that I have ancestors that are from Mexico, I'm very proud of that fact, but that seems to be the thing that these readers are fixating on, and that's unfortunate to me.
BALDWIN: Which makes it a challenge, as you described in your piece, of covering this election. Let me just quote you quickly: "It strikes me though that Trump, whether he means to or not," you say, "has fostered a hostile moment in our politics when his supporters feel entitled to racially denigrate others. Sadly, simply being a Gomez is enough to make you a target." How --last question, Henry. How do you think this election has changed race relations in America?
GOMEZ: I think you just nailed it right there. His supporters may have felt this way all along but now because of the things Donald Trump is saying they feel empowered, they feel entitled, they feel emboldened to say this out loud themselves or to attack somebody. It's not just reporters, it's others. And I feel that that's something that's different. I covered the election four years ago and never received this level of vitriol from my readers. That's the one thing that has changed this year, and I wonder if it's something that we're going to see for years to come in presidential politics.