“I am a Republican,” Abel Guerra wrote in an opinion piece published by The Washington Post on Wednesday. “I worked in the George W. Bush White House. And I say to my fellow Latinos: I’m not asking you to become a Democrat. But I am asking you to vote President Trump out of office.”
“From day one, Trump spewed his white-supremacist views, promising to halt the invasion of immigrants and spurring a rhetoric of resentment and retaliation against the ‘other,’” wrote Guerra, who was the associate director of public liaison during the Bush administration from 2001 to 2004.
The op-ed also invoked the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, that claimed the lives of 22 people in August. Authorities have since revealed that the shooter traveled for at least 10 hours to specifically target “Mexicans” at the store, which sits near the southern border.
“Fueled by the president’s vitriol, a killer sought out immigrants to slaughter,” Guerra wrote of the shooting. “The shooting isn’t just a tragedy; it’s a massacre, a direct hit against our community.”
Guerra went on to say that Republicans must either show sincere compassion to the Latin-American community or face dire political consequences.
“Republicans need to dust off their moral compass and remember what they stand for — and what they stand against. If they do not, they will lose Latinos forever and relegate themselves once more to minority status, likely unable to regain control of Congress or the White House again,” he wrote.
At a rally on Monday in New Mexico, Trump made a direct appeal to Latino voters and touted his electoral appeal with that key voting demographic in the 2020 presidential election.
"They understand they do not want criminals coming across the border," Trump said of Hispanic Americans. "They do not want people taking their jobs. They want to have that security. They want the wall. They want the wall."
Trump also said his administration is "working night and day to deliver a future of limitless opportunities for our nation's Hispanic American citizens, including millions and millions of extraordinary Mexican-Americans who enrich our society, and strengthen our country, serve in our military and contribute immensely to other shared American family."
As Guerra notes, by the 2020 election, Hispanics will be the largest racial or ethnic minority group in the electorate with 32 million people eligible to vote.
According to exit poll data from the 2016 presidential election, Trump received 28% of the Hispanic vote. An ABC News/Washington Post poll this month had Trump's approval rating among Hispanics at 25%, far below the 50% approval among whites.
(ABC News' Kendall Karson contributed to this report.)