Reince Priebus: Republicans' minority outreach roadmap was supposed to be "not the short term"

The idea of pivoting after the 2012 election may be failing in the wake of the Trump Train

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published October 24, 2016 2:11PM (EDT)

 (Screengrab via YouTube)
(Screengrab via YouTube)

In the wake of Donald Trump’s racially divisive presidential campaign, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus distanced himself from a 2012 report he helped create that called for the Republican Party to be more inclusive toward minorities — particularly Hispanics — during an interview on CBS’ "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

“I contend that he’s going to do better in black communities than we have done four and eight years ago,” Priebus said. Soon, though, he qualified that statement by acknowledging that “what this prescription is, is a prescription for the long term, not the short term, and being active 24/7 in black and Hispanic communities, talking about the issues that matter in those communities is what our party is all about.”

The Republican National Committee’s 2013 report analyzed the reasons for the party’s losses during the 2012 presidential campaign. When debuting the report, Priebus declared that “by the year 2050 we'll be a majority-minority country and in both 2008 and 2012 President Obama won a combined 80 percent of the votes of all minority groups. The RNC cannot and will not write off any demographic or community or region of this country.”

The report also concluded that the party needed to embrace immigration reform as part of cultivating an inclusive image. "If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation),” the report argued, “they will not pay attention to our next sentence."

By contrast, Trump has made a number of comments about Hispanics that were criticized as racist. He described Mexican immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists” when he announced his candidacy, questioned the motives of opponents by citing their Hispanic heritage (including Jeb Bush’s wife and an Indiana judge who will preside over a lawsuit against Trump, defending supporters who beat up a Hispanic man as “passionate,” and evicting a Univision reporter from one of his press conferences.

Despite reiterating during Sunday’s interview that “of course we’re [the RNC] behind Donald Trump,” Priebus’ relationship with the Trump campaign has been touchy. Back in August, Priebus reportedly wanted to join other Republican leaders in staging an intervention for Trump’s campaign due to its constant stream of racist comments, and Priebus allegedly warned the Trump campaign that party resources would be redirected to down-ballot races if he didn’t rein in his racist rhetoric. Nevertheless, Priebus has continued to publicly support his party’s nominee (), even vowing to punish Republicans who don’t support their party’s standard-bearer.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Elections 2016 Reince Preibus Republicans Rnc