Saturday, August 13, 2016

4-way Presidential Town Hall highlights journalists' confab (Update with video)

Filipino/American clarifies Trump's statements about the Philippines

From top left, clockwise, Bill Clinton, Gary Johnson, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Jill Stein
spoke at the AAJA/APIAVote Presidential Town Hall.
A SURROGATE for Donald Trump tried to clarify the GOP's presidential nominee's comments last week about banning immigration from the Philippines. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, a Filipino/American, told a large crowd of Asian/American community leaders and journalists that he had received permission to explain Trump's comments.

The Democrats, meanwhile, was represented by former President Bill Clinton in the Presidential Town Hall held Friday (Aug. 12) at the Asian American Journalists Convention in partnership with AAPIVote. Also addressing one of the largest gatherings of AAPI people was Libertarian presidential candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and Green Party bet Jill Stein.

Reyes, who is of Filipino descent, said that when Trump suggested that the Philippine immigration should be under extra scrutiny because terrorists had taken root there, he was referring to the “terrorist elements that do exist in the Philippines,” not the country as a whole.

“What Mr. Trump was trying to communicate, and I have the full authority to make this clarification, is that he welcomes law-abiding Filipinos who want to come and have a better life and better opportunities, whether they want to live here or send money back to the Philippines,” Reyes said.

Knowing he was speaking to an audience that was already leaning towards Clinton, Reyes spent most of his speech trying to build bridges.

"We may not agree on everything. Some of you ... might not agree on anything,” Reyes said. "But it’s important we come and listen, with humility and respect.”

He said that he wasn’t always a supporter of Trump, and he doesn’t agree with everything he says. However, he said that Trump would eliminate many of the regulations that impact Asian-American small businesses and fight affirmative action in colleges, which he said unfairly targets AAPI students.

“Mr. Trump believes in America first, no exceptions,” Reyes said.

Clinton's speech explained Hillary Clinton's policies would help small businesses, implement comprehensive immigration reform, and support quality, affordable education and immigration.

However, he said, the election is referendum on what kind of nation we want to be.
"E pluribus Unum means expanding our definition of 'us' and shrinking our definition of 'them' -- not the other way around," he said. "The metaphor of this election may be walls or bridges."

Johnson touched on a host of issues, according to the Las Vegas Sun, from supporting the legalization of marijuana to starkly opposing any new taxes. He called free trade the “opposite of crony capitalism,” saying that it was devoid of government interference.

He said his support is growing and according to polls, he could garner 15 percent of the vote allowing him to participate on the three scheduled debates.

Stein, meanwhile, lost her bid to be placed on the Nevada ballot a few hours before the forum. 

She talked about how the environment was a crucial issue for Asian and Pacific Island countries due to rising sea levels attributed to climate change. She said if she was president, she would introduced policies that would pay for clean energy technologies by cutting spending on health care because a cleaner environment would be a healthier environment.

The historic four-way, three and one-half hour Presidential Town Hall was the highlight of the Asian American Journalists Association's National Convention held at Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas.

APIAVote data shows that Asian Americans, though far from monolithic, increasingly identify as Democrats and have been turned off by exclusionary rhetoric from Republican candidates.

If you want to  listen to almost four-hour entire town hall, watch the video below. (Earlier versions of this post did not include the video.)