It was a curious sight, three Mexican-American men standing outside the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., all wearing business suits and sombreros. José Rivera, the leader of the group, kept glancing at his watch, while Gabriel Santos and Miguel Avila looked at their phones.
“Are you sure no one else is coming?” Rivera asked.
“Positive,” Santos said.
“Okay, let’s display the banner and try to look enthusiastic. We may get attention from the media.”
They unfurled a large banner and held it up for all visitors to the Capitol to see: “Mexican-Americans for Donald Trump!”
“Do you think we should chant something?” Avila asked.
“Yes, he was going to come, but then he heard what Mr. Trump said about us.”
“What did Mr. Trump say?” Santos asked.
“He said some of us are good people,” Rivera said.
Avila shook his head. “I wish that’s all he said. Let me bring it up on my phone. Here’s what he said: ‘When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Santos chuckled. “So that’s why.”
“That’s why what?” Rivera asked.
“That’s why I couldn’t get any of my friends to come to this rally. I sent an invitation yesterday to all 200 of my Facebook friends, and by the end of the day, all but one had unfriended me. And she sent me a message saying, ‘Are you feeling okay, my son? Maybe you need to see a doctor.'”
“Your dad unfriended you too, huh?” Avila asked.
“My dad is really upset. He’s threatening to take me off his will. I tried to tell him why I’m doing it, but he wouldn’t listen.”
“It’s tough to convince people,” Rivera said, “but we shouldn’t give up.”
“I’ve got an idea, boss,” Avila said. “Maybe we should buy a few mannequins. We can get brown ones that look like Mexicans.”
Rivera shook his head. “We already tried that in Texas. We had five mannequins. It worked for a while, until the damn CNN reporter decided to ask one of them a question. I tried to tell him that they don’t speak English, but then he asked them a question in Spanish and they had the same blank look.”
Santos smiled. “You’ve gotta be careful. Mr. Trump will say that we’re all dummies.”
“That’s enough, Gabriel, you’d better hush now,” Rivera said. “We’re starting to get some attention.”
A group of tourists had stopped to take photos of the men. One woman, visiting from Winnipeg, Canada, even took a selfie. “I knew we’d see some amazing sights in D.C.,” she whispered to her husband, “but I never thought we’d see an endangered species. I heard that there are fewer than 100 of them in the entire United States.”
The media soon heard about the rally and before long the three men were surrounded by 3,000 reporters and photographers. CNN sent a helicopter up to give viewers an aerial view of the spectacle. “An incredible sight in Washington, D.C., this morning,” Wolf Blitzer told viewers. “Mexican-Americans supporting Donald Trump. This gives a real boost to his presidential campaign.”
Rivera answered dozens of questions from reporters, including one from CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux : “After all Donald Trump has said about Mexicans, how can you still support him?”
“He’s going to create millions of jobs and make the economy great,” Rivera said. “He’s going to make sure every American has a good job, nice house and great hair like his.”
“But he wants to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border,” Malveaux said.
“Yes, that’s true,” Rivera said. “But whom do you think he’s going to hire to build that wall?”
When the rally finally ended, almost two hours later, the men rolled up their banner, doffed their sombreros and strode down Maryland Avenue, past the U.S. Botanic Garden. As they turned onto 3rd Street, Rivera took a wad of cash out of his pocket and handed $500 to each man. “Good job, guys,” he said. “Mr. Trump says he’ll pay us a little more next time.”