Responding to the seemingly random shooting of a woman in San Francisco on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump released a statement renewing his call for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Kathryn Steinle, a 32-year-old medical worker, was shot randomly by an undocumented immigrant as she walked with her father and a friend in a popular tourist area of San Francisco.
“This is an absolutely disgraceful situation and I am the only one that can fix it. Nobody else has the guts to even talk about it,” Trump said in the statement. The real estate mogul has been taking hits over the last couple of weeks for comments in his campaign announcement that were perceived as racist toward Mexicans.
Donald Trump releases "Trump-esque" statement in response to the tragic killing of Kathryn Steinle in San Fran: pic.twitter.com/tRBUsufY6F
â€” David Rothstein (@TheDRnews) July 3, 2015
In the days after Steinle’s death, it was discovered that the man accused of shooting her was in a Bay Area jail within the last four months for marijuana charges. At the time, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials wanted to deport the man, 45-or-46-year-old Francisco Sanchez, but Sanchez was let free, according to NBC Bay Area. San Francisco is a so-called "sanctuary city" where the immigration status of jailed people is not asked. Records show that Sanchez has been deported five times and has seven prior felony convictions, most of which were drug-related.
When announcing his presidential run, Trump said that Mexicans are “bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
The resulting backlash produced some high-profile abandonment of Trump. NBC and Univision both announced they would no longer air Trump’s Miss USA Pageant, Macy’s department stores announced it would no longer carry his Trump-branded clothing line and the popular Latin singer Ricky Martin pulled a charity he hosts from being held at a Trump golf course.
Money aside, alienating a large swath of potential voters is a dubious political move for someone who is running for the most competitive office in the country. Latino voters are considered to be a highly valued voter bloc that is expected to play an increasingly important role in elections as their population rises.