Will Miami’s Republican mayor vote for Trump? ‘Of course not’

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado speaks to the city commission last year.
Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado speaks to the city commission last year. EL NUEVO HERALD FILE

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado remembers walking to school as a young man in Miami and getting heckled.

“They said, ‘Spic, go back home,’” he recalled in an interview with the Miami Herald. “Because I had very dark hair.”

That discrimination still feels raw for the 68-year-old, now silver-haired, mayor, who was born in Cuba. And the memory is one of the reasons why he said he won’t vote for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in November.

“No, of course not,” said Regalado, a Republican in a non-partisan post.

Regalado, who backed Trump rival Marco Rubio, said he won’t be casting his ballot for likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, either.

“I’m not going to vote for one or the other,” he said, echoing fellow Miami Republicans like former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The highest-ranking local Republican, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“He mistreats people, speaks derisively of people,” Regalado said of Trump. “A president’s biggest asset is the bully pulpit. This guy is capable of creating national and international chaos.”

Recent polls show Clinton walloping Trump in liberal-leaning, Hispanic-majority Miami-Dade. A Florida poll released Tuesday found a virtually tied race statewide.

Last year, Regalado appealed to city commissioners to craft some sort of resolution denouncing Trump. They ultimately signed off on softer language than he would have liked.

Regalado emphasized to the Herald that he will go to the polls on Election Day, even if he leaves the presidential race blank.

“For senator, for representative, for anything else, yes,” he said. “But this guy?”

His voice trailed off.

Miami Herald staff writer David Smiley contributed to this report.