Dem lawmaker: Trump treating Latinos like 'second-class citizens'

 
"The president and his administration treat people of color, especially Latinos, as pawns and second-class citizens," Gallego said in an interview with Hill.TV's new morning show "Rising."
 
Gallego is the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, which has oversight over Puerto Rico. 
 
"What you see happen in Puerto Rico –– our disaster-relief and disaster-recovery has been a disgrace. This president is not focused on it, he doesn't feel like he's responsible for Puerto Rico," Gallego said.
 
According to a Harvard study released last month, 4,645 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico in September.
 
The official death count of 67 paled in comparison, although the Puerto Rican government has commissioned a George Washington University study to publish a final count.
 
The Trump administration has mostly left Puerto Rico's government to handle the fallout over the conflicting numbers.
 
"Any other presidency, whether it was Bush or Obama or anybody else, if they had discovered that this type of discrepancy had occurred, would actually be working to try to fix it, instead you have an administration that's just trying to cover it up," said Gallego.
 
"The fact that we aren't losing our minds that we potentially lost 5,000 or more Americans in Puerto Rico tells you a lot about what the goals and what the themes are for this administration for people of color, especially Latinos," he said.
 
Gallego argued that Democrats have an advantage with Latino voters who feel alienated by Trump, but warned his party not to rely exclusively on anti-Trump sentiment to win over Latino voters in the long term.
 
"Anti-Trump may get you past these next four years but it won't actually last longer than that," he said.
 
Gallego emphasized that the Latino community is a mostly working-class community, with higher labor participation rates but lower wages than the national average.
 
"I think the Democrats are taking the Latino vote for granted and I think it's important that the Democratic Party starts delivering economic policies that help Latinos obtain middle class status," he said.
 
The lawmaker added that Latinos are important for a potentially winning Democratic coalition, but are currently part of it because "their options are so onerous." 
 
"But at some point that could break," he warned.
 
"When that breaks, a lot of the ideas of what the future of the Democratic coalition looks like [are] going to be very tenuous," he added.
 
– Rafael Bernal