Miriam Cepeda is probably one of few — a 24-year-old Latina and a self-proclaimed “Trump girl” on the South Texas border — and she wants you to know it.
She volunteers for Donald Trump’s campaign in an area where 90% of its population identifies as Hispanic or Latino, and she lives in Texas’ Hidalgo County. Proof that not all of Texas votes Republican, President Barack Obama won 70% of the vote there in 2012. This is also not far from where Trump wants to build his wall with Mexico.
Cepeda is the daughter of an undocumented immigrant who once had a green card, but she doesn’t shy away from the controversial comments Trump has made about Latinos — including when he first launched his White House bid by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists.”
“I completely agree with Donald J. Trump’s policies as far as creating a stronger border and enforcing our border security,” she said. “I firsthand have seen … friends that are getting involved with illegal activity that’s associated with drugs or human trafficking. It’s an issue that people need to realize is reality.”
Cepeda spends most of her time at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley as a graduate student of history, but lately she’s been spending her days posting Trump signs all over the Rio Grande Valley (even though, she said, they usually get trashed by protesters) and spreading his campaign message to anyone who will listen.
It hasn’t been easy for her.
“I get shot down maybe four (out of) five times,” she said about when she campaigns for Trump. “But at the same time, it just takes one positive feedback to keep you going.”
Cepeda hosted a “Pachanga 4 Trump” mixer on June 15, where more than 80 Trump supporters came out to the Hidalgo County Republican Party office to talk about why they support Trump for president. The Republican Party-affiliated event was not directly associated with the Trump campaign.
She got started working on behalf of Trump — though not formally with his campaign — before Super Tuesday on March 1, when she said she saw something unique and special in the billionaire business mogul. She even met him at a San Antonio fundraiser on June 17.
“He’s right about everything he says — if we don’t have a strong border, we don’t have a nation,” she said.
Statistically, Cepeda is an unlikely spokesperson for Trump, who doesn’t poll well with Latinos or women.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released on Sunday showed that Clinton leads Trump with Latino voters 69% to 22%.
Clinton also had a 17-point lead over Trump among female voters, 52% to 35%.
Cepeda said she’s aware of the polls, but adds she doesn’t think it’s a fair characterization of Trump.
“Just look at his daughter, Ivanka Trump,” she said. “Look at an inspiration she is to any woman, any woman that’s seeking a career, and wants to be a mother. She’s the perfect example of the ideal, classy, professional woman. That just shows as a reflection of her father.”
Dario Garcia is a millennial Trump supporter who supports Cepeda in her efforts to spread his message on the South Texas border, and spoke at the mixer to share why he believed Trump is the best option to be the next president.
“I’ve watched him grow as a presidential candidate,” he said. “I’ve been exposed to the border my entire life … He’s the only one who will fix the problems at the border.”
Rumelda Cantu, who attended the mixer with a friend, said that she’s the only Republican in her family and feels isolated sometimes because of her opinions.
“It’s sometimes stressful during the holidays,” she said. “But I always try to get my family to see things the way I see them. Trump said he’ll help the veterans. Who else will do that?”
Cepeda said she’s going to continue focusing on Trump’s campaign on the border, and try to sway local voters to vote for him.
“I want to maybe be a paid staffer,” she said about Trump’s campaign. “For those who shoot me down, watch me.”
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