A group of Hispanic lawmakers demanded Monday that NBC disinvite Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump from his upcoming role as host of the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL). In a statement released ahead of Trump’s scheduled appearance this weekend, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said the network’s platform is too influential for a political figure who has made racially offensive remarks about Latinos.
“The [group] calls upon NBCUniversal…and SNL Executive Producer Lorne Michaels to disinvite Mr. Trump from hosting Saturday Night Live because racism is not funny,” read the statement. NBCUniversal, which severed ties to Trump and his "Apprentice" reality show following the launch of his presidential campaign in June, should pull the GOP candidate’s appearance “because the values of 'respect and dignity for all people' are more important than ratings and ad revenue,” the group stated.
The Hispanic caucus, which includes 26 Democratic members of the House of Representative and the Senate, was among the first to speak out after Trump made inflammatory remarks about Mexicans and immigrants in the speech that launched his campaign. The billionaire real estate mogul blasted Hispanics and immigrants by inferring those immigrating to the U.S. were mostly drug smugglers and sex offenders.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said during his declaration speech June 16. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems to us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists…They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably…from the Middle East.”
Democratic congressman and caucus member Luis Gutierrez of Illinois voted for the statement of opposition along with two-thirds of other members, according to a Variety report Monday. “Did I miss an apology?” he said on the House floor Monday. “Did Trump do what Paula Deen or any other TV personality has to do after they make racist comments in public in order to get back on the air?”
Trump faced significant backlash over the remarks from Latino community advocates and fellow Republican party members alike. But the candidate kept climbing in national and early primary state presidential polls among a field of nearly 20 candidates. He recently slipped behind celebrated neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who polled with 26 percent of the support for the GOP nomination to Trump’s 22 percent, according to an CBS-New York Times survey released Oct. 27.
The National Council of La Raza, the largest national civil rights group for Latinos, last month also blasted SNL’s decision to tap Trump to host. “This is not about lacking a sense of humor,” Janet Murguía, president and CEO of NCLR, said in a statement. “[SNL] has become a highly coveted platform for candidates from political parties who are looking to reach and connect with the American public,” she said. “It is appalling, then, that a show with that history and that role to showcase a man whose campaign has been built on bigotry and demagoguery for the sake of buzz and ratings.”
Neither NBC nor SNL gave any indication that it will cancel Trump’s appearance on this Saturday's episode, the Hill reported Monday. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, appeared on SNL on month ago, although she did not host.