A network anchor calls on his colleagues to do better
Days after exchanging heated words with Donald Trump, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos has some words to share with his fellow national political reporters: Do more to make Trump answer the tough questions.
“He hasn’t been challenged enough,” Ramos said of Trump. “He hates to be challenged and it is time that we start doing it.”
At issue for Ramos are a set of immigration policies that Trump has announced, but not yet explained how he would implement. At the top of the list is Trump’s plan to make all of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants leave the country before many of them would be allowed back in under legal status. When asked by TIME, ABC News and others about how he would force millions from the country, Trump has so far only offered evasions. “It’s called management,” he told TIME.
Ramos says that sort of non-response is unacceptable from a leading presidential candidate, especially given the number of people who could be affected. “If he wants to do it in the short term, he would need to use the army, use stadiums, public places,” Ramos said. “The only way to do that would be to use trains and buses and airports to deport millions of people. It’s in a scale never seen before in the world. And it is incredibly dangerous.”
Ramos also thinks Trump needs to explain how he would fund a new wall along the southern border and how his plan to undo birthright citizenship would work in practice. “If he denies citizenship to newborns then we would have stateless babies, babies with no passport and no country,” Ramos said. “How do you deport them? Do you send ICE agents to hospitals? And where do you deport them? Do you send them to Mexico if the father is from that country or to Honduras if the mother is from that country?”
At a press conference in Iowa on Tuesday, Ramos tried to ask these questions of Trump, using his aggressive style. Initially, Trump said Ramos was acting out of turn. “Go back to Univision,” Trump said, before asking his security to expel Ramos from the room. Later, Trump invited Ramos to return and the two men spoke over each other for several minutes. However, the questions were left unanswered.
It was not the first time Trump has declined to describe the process of carrying out his stated policies. When asked on ABC News Sunday about the cost of building a wall, Trump said, “We need a wall. We have to get a wall.” When asked how he would round up 11 million people for deportation, Trump repeated his familiar “management” line.
Five days earlier, Trump offered a similar answer to TIME. “It’ll all work out,” he said on Aug. 18, while emphasizing his managerial credentials. “Politicians can’t manage. All they can do is talk.”
After Ramos was expelled from the Trump press conference, he was confronted by an apparent Trump supporter in the hallway, who told Ramos to “Get out of my country.” Born in Mexico, Ramos is a naturalized U.S. citizen. “What many people think and say in their houses now is being expressed in the streets and in their workplaces and in public spaces,” Ramos says. “And those biases and those rejections of immigrants have been legitimized by Mr. Trump’s dangerous words.”
Ramos has had a standing request to interview Trump for weeks. Instead of responding directly to one invitation, Trump posted a handwritten note from Ramos, which included the anchor’s cell phone number, on Instagram. Ramos, whose Univision broadcast has a nightly Spanish-language news audience of more than 2 million, still hopes to talk to the candidate. “If it happens, it will be an uncomfortable interview for him for sure,” says Ramos. “He can’t and he should not get away with empty promises. At stake is the future of this country.”
In a separate proceeding, Trump has sued Univision, alleging breach of contract after the network backed out of broadcasting the Miss Universe pageant. Univision’s decision not to air the pageant followed Trump’s claim that Mexico was sending rapists and criminals across the southern border. Trump subsequently ordered that Univision employees be denied service at his south Florida golf courses, including one near Univision headquarters that Ramos said he had previously visited. “It hasn’t changed anything at all,” Ramos says of the ban.
He added that he also recently dined at Jean Georges, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Trump International Tower next to Central Park. “I was pleasantly surprised to realize the vast majority of the people working in the kitchen and the restaurant were Mexicans, from the state of Puebla,” Ramos said. “I used to go to those places, but I won’t anymore.”