Despite being a stronghold of support for Barack Obama in both of his presidential races, Miami's two most prominent politicos — city Mayor Tomás Regalado and county Mayor Carlos Gimenez — are both Republicans. That's a quirk of the outsize role that traditionally Republican Cuban-Americans play in local politics.
But that party loyalty goes only so far. And with the most deeply unpopular candidate in the history of Hispanic voters taking the GOP mantle in the race for the White House, both Regalado and Gimenez have now bailed on Donald Trump.
Gimenez announced this morning on Bernadette Pardo's radio show that he wouldn't endorse Trump or Hillary Clinton in this year's election. Gimenez's spokesman, Michael Hernandez, left the door open for some wiggle room, though.
"Mayor Gimenez will not be endorsing Mr. Trump or Secretary Clinton at this time. The mayor may decide to support a candidate at a later date," Hernandez tells New Times.
Regalado has taken an even firmer stance against Trump. Asked last week if he would support the Donald, he told the Miami Herald: "Of course not."
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Like Gimenez, Regalado said he wouldn't support Clinton either. But he also blasted Trump for his anti-Hispanic rhetoric. “He mistreats people, speaks derisively of people,” Regalado told the daily. “A president’s biggest asset is the bully pulpit. This guy is capable of creating national and international chaos.”
The pair echoes a bigger problem for Miami-area Republicans, who tend to be hardliners on Cuba and less ideological on social issues and immigration. Both Rep. Carlos Curbelo and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have said they will sit out this presidential race rather than back Trump. Jeb Bush has said the same.
There's some political expediency at work in all of these decisions, of course. Miami-Dade is the lone county in Florida that voted for Marco Rubio over Trump in the primary, and its traditional Cuban-American GOP base is deeply wary of Trump. It's a lot easier to take a moral stand against the Donald, in other words, when you know your voters have your back.
But still, Miami's Republicans deserve credit for bucking the GOP's national trend of quietly falling in line behind Trump now that all other options have been exhausted.