Miami’s Latin Builders Association, which bills itself as the nation’s largest Hispanic construction trade group, has dumped Donald Trump over his strident remarks on immigration.
The LBA planned to hold its biennial gala for its new president at the Trump National Doral resort in November. The group gave the hotel notice Thursday that it is rescinding its contract.
“Most regrettably, Mr. Trump’s recent pattern of bigoted, sexist and ignorant verbal assaults on immigrants, women and veterans have made hosting the installation gala at the resort unfeasible,” LBA Executive Director Melissa Tapanes Llahues told members at a luncheon at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
“It is unfortunate that such a majestic location is now inextricably associated with someone who is simply antithetical and repugnant to the LBA’s legacy and mission.”
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A Trump spokeswoman did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
The LBA reserved the Trump venue in December, Tapanes Llahues said. Once Trump launched his presidential candidacy in June — saying Mexico sends “rapists” and “criminals” to cross the U.S. border illegally — LBA leaders began private discussions over what action, if any, to take, as first reported by Politico. The talks intensified as Trump’s remarks turned into a “pattern,” according to Tapanes Llahues. The group reached out to the resort to relay its concerns before rescinding its contract, she added, declining to elaborate on how much the decision might cost the LBA.
“The LBA was founded by mostly Cuban exiles that came to this country to escape tyranny and oppression, only to find professional bigotry and discrimination in early 1970s Miami,” she told members. “Their courage and resolve to unite against those whose prejudices barred equal opportunity to participate in the local economy serve as the foundation for today’s LBA.”
Her first mention of Trump prompted a loud murmur — and a smattering of laughter — from LBA members seated for lunch. After she announced the decision to break the Trump contract, the room erupted into applause.
Though nonpartisan, the LBA has traditionally been a bastion of Cuban-American Republicans, and many of its members are close with local GOP presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. But Tapanes Llahues, a registered Democrat, said the membership has become more diverse over the years — as has Miami. And she stressed the board came to a business decision — not a political one — after consulting with its leaders, members and sponsors.
“This was not a rash, impulsive decision,” she said.
The list of retailers, companies and governments that have distanced themselves from Trump, the leading Republican in the polls, includes Macy’s, Univision and Miami-Dade County. A local company, Quirch Foods, decided to move its annual food show — which mostly draws customers from Latin America — shortly after Trump started running. Quirch will instead hold its Sept. 11 event at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.