At the Republican National Convention, New Mexico delegate Lisa Shin declared Donald Trump as the only presidential candidate that could protect the American dream.
But the daughter of South Korean immigrants and founder of Korean Americans for Trump said in an interview with VOICES that she also had misgivings about the billionaire New Yorker’s inflammatory comments toward Asian nations and suggested she would have said things differently.
Trump has called China’s trade policies the “greatest theft in the history of the world” and decried how the country is “raping” the U.S.
He has also mockingly imitated Asian accents at his rallies, asked a Texas-born Asian-American college student if he was from South Korea (he wasn’t ) and described the Philippines — a longtime ally of the U.S. — among those he considered “terrorist nations” as he called for greater oversight over legal immigrants.
Trump’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
As of Wednesday, the Republican party had not confirmed whether it would send a representative to the AAJA/APIAVote presidential town hall.
“There’s no doubt that Trump’s rhetoric has alienated Asian-American voters,” Shin said. “I tell people to look past rhetoric, and look at his proposals.”
The following is an unedited transcript of the interview:;
Where did you acquire your political beliefs? My views are largely shaped by Christian faith. I’ve acquired my views through reading/listening to conservative media, as well as involvement in my local Republican party.
What are the social and political issues most pertinent to you? Why? I support policy that respects traditional family values. I am very concerned about the economy: we have to get Americans working again. We have to protect American manufacturing and jobs. We have to be smarter about our trade deals: I oppose the TPP. I oppose interventionist, regime changing wars. I support campaign finance reform: Hilary represents campaign finance corruption. I find her abuses of power and her lies, just appalling.
What are the political stances of Mr. Trump that you find most attractive and least attractive? most attractive: I agree with him on the economy, trade, our national debt, securing the border, and Islamic terrorism. We have to approach things from a more nationalistic, national sovereignty perspective, like every other prosperous, free country. We have to be more selective about who we’re letting into this country, for our safety and security. That’s the hard truth that only Trump is willing to say. least attractive: I am concerned about his history of eminent domain; personal property rights are foundational to our freedom. I am also concerned about his potential abuse of executive orders. Obama has abused executive orders, we don’t need another president who will do the same.
Do you think that some of Mr. Trump’s rhetorics have hurt his popularity among Asian American voters? Yes, there’s no doubt that Trump’s rhetoric has alienated Asian-American voters. I tell people to look past rhetoric, and look at his proposals, his basic principle: “America First.” No country can remain prosperous and safe, without enforcing immigration laws and securing the border.
How do you reconcile your support of Mr. Trump with his remarks that have been unfriendly to Asian countries including China and Korea? If I had been Trump, I would have made those remarks, in a far less inflammatory, more diplomatic way. However, China’s currency manipulation is well established. Unfortunately, trade agreements with both China and Korea, have cost millions of American jobs and have resulted in significant trade deficits for the U.S. It’s time we looked seriously at our foreign policy and trade, and work towards more mutually beneficial agreements.
From your observation, what kind of outreach efforts is the Trump campaign engaging in to attract Asian American voters? The Trump campaign has been very supportive of National Diversity Coalition, and has appointed a director of coalitions, Alan Cobb. Note that it is the RNC, not the DNC, that chose a Korean-American to speak on its final night. This speaks volumes of Trump’s effort to engage the Asian American voters. This speaking role, attracted numerous Korea media outlets, and caught the attention of the Asian American communities nationwide, as well as abroad.