There was an audible gasp from the gathered crowd as Donald Trump’s 757 lifted off the tarmac.
“Oh my God. Wow,” said Gina Gil, 48, after an excited shriek, reaching for her 11-year-old-nephew. “I think it’s a historic moment, ma’am. Seriously, I really do.”
Gil was referring to Trump’s visit Thursday to Laredo, Texas, a small city on the U.S.-Mexico border where the Republican presidential candidate spent less than an hour touring the border, bragged to reporters about the danger he faced, proclaimed that Hispanics love him, and stopped traffic with a presidential-size motorcade.
Yet beyond the spectacle The Donald seems to create wherever he goes, the billionaire businessman’s visit exposed evidence of a divided community whose overwhelmingly Hispanic population both decried Trump as racist and cheered his hardline immigration views. Interviews during and after the whirlwind tour with more than a dozen local residents underscored the danger Trump represents to the GOP’s relationship with Hispanic voters and his appeal to a vocal segment of frustrated voters, many Hispanics among them, who see a glaring problem on the nation’s southern border that requires attention.