A top former Bush administration official has endorsed Hillary Clinton, warning that Donald Trump is a "perilous" threat to the country.
Rosario Marin, appointed as the first Mexican-born person to serve as United States Treasurer by George W. Bush and a fixture of five Republican presidential campaigns, endorsed Clinton in a Univision op-ed Wednesday morning.
"I will stand up for my community against the menace of a tyrannical presidency that does not value the countless contributions of immigrants," Marin writes. "There is too much at stake both domestically and abroad to have a thoughtless individual at the helm of the most important economy in the world."
Despite often disagreeing with and criticizing Clinton, Marin said that the Democratic nominee understands that words spoken from the White House have consequences, and that sarcasm is not a strategy for dealing with delicate global situations — a reference to Trump's recent comments that he was being sarcastic when he said President Obama was the founder of ISIS.
Marin was out against Trump early on, signing onto a letter last summer with other Mexican-Americans that have held elected office to send a message that his comments about Mexicans and immigrants were unacceptable. In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Marin credited her long time in politics for her immediate opposition to him.
"I know a demagogue when I see one," she said.
In the op-ed, Marin laments that despite assurances from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus that the party would make efforts to appeal to Hispanics after Mitt Romney's 2012 loss, "the party left me and my community all alone again."
"I have come to the devastatingly painful realization that my party right now doesn't want my vote nor that of my community," she said.
Marin along with many other Hispanic conservatives has been a vocal Trump opponent, ripping his bombast as offensive and saying that she will not do the crucial work of acting as a surrogate for him on Spanish-language networks as she has for past Republican presidential nominees.
She twice held a press conference with other Latino Republicans before primary debates to take Trump to task, but while others who were part of the group have come around to supporting him, Marin has been a vocal holdout.
She says a common refrain from Trump supporters that he is bashing "illegal immigrants" and not Hispanics is flawed because of the way he went after a Mexican-American federal judge and because of his policy suggestion that he could force Mexico to pay for a border wall by withholding money that immigrants send back to family back home.
"There's something evil when he’s talking about that, which would be so unconstitutional," she said. "He didn’t say that because it was a carefully thought out policy — what it showed was this racism that he has against the Mexican community."
Still, some Republicans feel Marin went too far, when upon Trump wrapping up the nomination in May, she went on CNN to proclaim, "I will not vote for this little orange man."
But GOP Hispanics also say they are loath to criticize her, viewing her as a hero, because she was the first Latina to have her name appear on U.S. currency across the country.
"For someone who grew up without a pair of shoes and whose family came from nothing to get that position, it still means something," said one Republican operative. "It's a testament to the American dream." In 2012, the Romney campaign created ads featuring her and her life story.
Artemio Muniz, a Texas Republican who joined Marin at the press conferences denouncing Trump, said Marin endorsing a Democrat is the end of an era.
"I love Rosario with all my heart," he said. "I hate to see part of the George W. Bush legacy crumble like that, the last brick of the Bush legacy when it comes to Hispanic outreach."
The Clinton campaign has made it a point to reach out to Republicans and independents who can not stomach Trump, and the number now stands at more than 50 endorsers, including Meg Whitman, and high-profile Latino Republicans like former commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez.
While many Republicans oppose Trump, some question the wisdom of endorsing Clinton — a decision they feel will come to haunt people like Marin, when they want to support a future Republican nominee and once again be critical of Clinton.
"I don’t understand the Republicans that are doing this kind of stuff, there will be a Republican Party when Trump loses, because he is going to lose," a former RNC official said.
Marin countered that she knows some of her friends will be disappointed with her decision but she can not think four years into the future when there is a clear and present danger right now.
"My party and its standard-bearer leave me no choice," she ultimately concludes on Univision. "On Nov. 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton."
Adrian Carrasquillo is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at email@example.com.
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