Donald Trump Tries to Lure Wavering Hispanic Support Away From Joe Biden

President Donald Trump appeared to make a major push for support among the Hispanic community on Thursday as he signed an executive order creating an advisory commission aimed at improving Hispanic Americans' access to educational opportunities and economic prosperity.

"The Hispanic American community is a treasure," the president told a crowd of supporters, current and past elected officials and leaders in the Hispanic community.

Titled the Executive Order on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative, the EO describes how the "success of Hispanic Americans is integral to the economic future of our country."

With more than 60 million Hispanics living in the U.S. today, the EO states, "Hispanics are the largest minority group in the country."

As such, Hispanic residents in the U.S. also have a significant share of voting power, a point that has not been lost on the Trump campaign as the November election inches closer.

In the lead-up to the 2020 race, Trump appears to be ramping up his efforts to draw in Hispanic voters, a demographic that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has somewhat struggled to rally.

While Biden has maintained a lead over Trump in support from the Hispanic community, in some recent polls, the former Vice President has continued to underperform compared to the support former Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama received in elections.

In the 2016 race, Clinton managed to secure 66 percent of the Hispanic vote, despite losing the election to Trump.

Meanwhile, Obama attracted 67 percent of support from Hispanics in the 2008 election, which he went on to win. Four years later, in 2012, Obama drew in an even larger share of support, with 71 percent of Hispanic voters helping re-elect the president.

In a recent NPR/PBS/Marist poll conducted between June 22-24, 59 percent of Hispanic voters said they would vote for Biden, while 39 percent said they would vote for Trump.

Even more recent, a poll conducted on July 8 by The Hill/HarrisX found 54 percent of Hispanic participants saying they would support Biden, compared with 23 percent who said they would back Trump.

Another recent poll, however, conducted by The Economist and YouGov between July 5 and 7 put Biden well ahead of Trump, 72 percent of Hispanics said they would vote for Biden, while just 19 percent said they would vote for Trump.

Overall, in recent months, Biden has struggled to garner strong support from the Hispanic community in his election bid.

The former vice president and his supporters have, however, been making a strengthened effort to garner that support, with two super PACs run by aides to Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) former presidential campaign launching pro-Biden ads Biden targeting Hispanic voters in key swing states this week.

Released in English and Spanish, the ad is critical of Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic and treatment of Hispanic communities during his time as president.

"Since the day he announced for president, Donald Trump has been at war with the Latino community, calling us rapists and criminals, attacking Dreamers, separating mothers from their children," the ad states.

"Trump's allowed the coronavirus to spread, devastating our community, where we're dying at a higher rate than other Americans," it says. Biden, it states, will "unite our country and lead us out of this crisis".

As the former vice president seeks to grow support among Hispanic voters, it is likely Trump will keep trying to pull it away.

Ken Farnaso, the deputy national press secretary for the Trump campaign, told Newsweek that "President Trump has undoubtedly delivered on his promises for the Hispanic community with lower taxes, safer communities, and just this week with the announcement of the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative."

Farnaso then tore into Biden's campaign, accusing the former vice president of "running on an extreme socialist platform."

"Hispanic Americans know firsthand the dangers of socialist regimes and can see through candidate Biden's shameless plans to fundamentally change America," he said. "Biden is running on an extreme socialist platform that includes limitless taxpayer-funded abortions, ending charter schools, and returning to the failed, Obama-era policy of appeasing the Cuban dictatorship."

"While Biden is focused on winning over American socialists and taking the Latino vote for granted, President Trump will continue to build on his record of success," he said.

In an average of polling, Biden continues to maintain a lead over Trump, with the former vice president 8.8 points ahead, as of Friday morning.

Newsweek has also contacted the Biden campaign for comment.

This article has been updated with a statement from the Trump campaign team.

Trump Hispanic Prosperity EO
President Donald Trump holds up an executive order he signed on the White House Hispanic Prosperity Initiative July 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump met with Hispanic leaders earlier in the day in the Cabinet Room. Win McNamee/Getty