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Trump alleges ‘tremendous danger’ with immigrants in border remarks

Welcome to Trail Guide, a daily tour through the wilds of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's Thursday, July 23, and here's what we're watching:

  • Donald Trump brought his hard-line immigration rhetoric to the U.S.-Mexico border
  • The Times' Kate Linthicum surveys the spectrum of Latinos' reactions to Trump
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will headline the California GOP's fall convention
  • Today, Walker is addressing a conference of conservative state lawmakers and lobbyists in San Diego
  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is meeting with local officials and mayors in South Carolina
  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush plans to stop at a ski shop and a VFW on his way to a town hall in Gorham, N.H.

There are clear, undeniable racial disparities. ... We shouldn't have to gloss it over or pretend it will just go away if we are nicer to each other.
Hillary Rodham Clinton in South Carolina on Thursday, speaking to local elected officials

Trump takes his immigration rhetoric to the border

 (AP Photo/LM Otero)

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

Standing beside the World Trade International Bridge, tractor trailer trucks lined up behind him, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump warned of danger along the U.S. border with Mexico and "tremendous crime and violence" brought by people crossing into the U.S. illegally.

"There is a great danger with the illegals, a tremendous danger," Trump said as he stood at a podium set up in a dusty lot next to the bridge checkpoint. "I have seen it here."

Wearing a white baseball cap bearing his campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," Trump spoke after meeting with the Laredo mayor and city manager, who only spoke briefly. The mayor said it was "a pleasure" to host the reality television star and conservative firebrand.

Trump said he came at the invitation of the local border patrol agents union and "the reason they invited me was because of the tremendous crime and violence" on the border, he said. The union later backed out of the event amid concerns that it would appear to be an endorsement.

Trump's candidacy has been propelled by his heated rhetoric promising to crack down on illegal immigration and casting Mexican immigrants as criminals. He did not back away from those statements on Thursday, and argued he was not alienating Latino voters. He has "a great relationship with Hispanics," Trump said, citing a poll from Nevada showing him far ahead of other Republican presidential contenders.

"At the airport people were waving flags, they were behind me," he said. When told the people outside the airport were protesters, Trump insisted, "they were chanting for me. ... I didn't see that."

Two weeks from debate night -- who is in, who is out

 (AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

When the crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls gathers in Cleveland in two weeks for the first presidential debate of the election cycle, some will be sitting out the prime-time event.

To make the stage, a candidate must place in the top 10 according to national polls. Debate host Fox News says the ranking will be based on an average of the five most recent national polls recognized by the network leading up to Aug. 4 at 5 p.m. Eastern time.

Those who don't make the cut will be invited to a second-tier forum that will air on Fox News ahead of the prime-time debate.

“I think it sucks,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, whose polling is far from stellar, said on MSNBC on Thursday about the criteria process.

So where do the candidates stack up two weeks out from debate night? Here's a glimpse of average polling complied by Real Clear Politics .

In

1. Donald Trump 18.2%

2. Jeb Bush 13.4%

3. Scott Walker 12%

4. Marco Rubio 7%

5. Ben Carson 6.4%

6. Mike Huckabee 6.2%

7. Rand Paul 5.6%

8. Ted Cruz 5.4%

9. Chris Christie 2.8%

10. John Kasich 1.8%

Out

11. Rick Perry 1.8%

12. Carly Fiorina 1.4%

13. Rick Santorum 1.4%

14. Bobby Jindal 1.2%

15. Lindsey Graham 0%

Democrats jump to next battle in LGBT rights

The Supreme Court has spoken on same-sex marriage, but that's not the last word on LGBT rights. Democrats are pushing the presidential campaigns into the next battleground with the Equality Act 2015.

The federal legislation would ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation in a host of other arenas, including employment, housing and public accommodations. Some states have no such protections.

Congressional Democrats tapped civil rights-era veteran John Lewis, the Democratic congressman from Georgia, to lead the congressional effort Thursday. Hillary Rodham Clinton chimed in with her endorsement quickly.

Trump and entourage arrive at the border

Donald Trump, his motorcade and the press corps have arrived at the border. Follow the Times' Molly Hennessy-Fiske on Twitter for live updates.

On the ground with Donald Trump at the U.S.-Mexico border

Trump claims local border agents being 'silenced'

The local border patrol agents' union that was set to meet with Donald Trump on Thursday has pulled out of the event, apparently out of concern that the meeting would be seen as an endorsement.

In a statement posted online Thursday, hours before the scheduled meeting in Laredo, Texas, Hector Garza, president of the Border Patrol Agent Local 2455, said the group decided not to participate after discussions with its national union.

"As Local 2455, our intentions to meet with Mr. Trump was to provide a 'Boots on the Ground' perspective to not only Mr. Trump, but to the media that would be in attendance at this event," Garza wrote. "Just to be clear, an endorsement was never discussed for any presidential candidate. Local 2455 does not endorse candidates for any political office."

The Trump campaign said the candidate would go ahead with the visit to the border "despite the great danger."

"It is unfortunate the local union of border patrol agents received pressure at a national level not to participate and ultimately pulled out of today's event," a campaign statement said. "They are being silenced, and are very unhappy about it, as told directly to Mr. Trump. It can only be assumed that there are things the politicians in Washington do not want Americans to see or discuss. It shows that we are not even safe in our own country."

Clinton: 'Black lives matter' is a guiding principle

 (Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press)

(Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press)

Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday tried to show black activists that she's learned from her mistakes -- and her opponents' mistakes -- when she declared it "essential that we all stand up and say loudly and clearly, yes, black lives matter."

"This is not just a slogan. This should be a guiding principle,” Clinton told a forum of local elected officials in South Carolina.

The comments marked the second time this week that the Democratic presidential hopeful aligned herself with the movement that sprang from the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin and aims to address systemic racism in the United States.

In a Facebook forum on Monday, Clinton wrote that everyone in the nation should "stand firmly behind" the idea, and promised to take actions to address racial inequality and its consequences.

But the Democratic front-runner frustrated activists last month when she declared that “all lives matter” during an event at a black church near Ferguson, Mo, site of the police-shooting death of Mchael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, and subsequent unrest. To some, the twist on the original rallying cry only takes the focus off the cause of addressing injustices facing African Americans. Democrat Martin O'Malley, a Clinton rival, was booed by activists last week when he made a similar statement.

Clinton on Thursday opened by calling it a "remarkable time for South Carolina," echoing President Obama in saying the state's response to the massacre of nine African Americans at Charleston's Emanuel AME Church was "an example of true grace."

"We all were grateful when the leaders of this state did the right thing and removed the Confederate battle flag from Statehouse grounds," Clinton said. "But you know better than most that the work of healing our communities and taking on the challenge of systemic racism is far from finished."

She said many schools and neighborhoods remained segregated, and said the criminal justice system in America is "out of balance."

"You have to rebuild bonds of trust and respect between elected officials and those whom they serve, between our law enforcement and the communities they serve," she said. "It's heartbreaking to read about another death of a young woman, Sandra Bland in Texas, another young African American life cut short. That's why I think it is essential that we all stand up and say loudly and clearly, yes, black lives matter."

Bland was arrested July 10 in Waller County, Texas, after initially being pulled over for a traffic violation and then clashing with a state trooper. Video from the incident shows the trooper yelling, "I will light you up," when Bland refused to exit her vehicle. Bland was found dead in her jail cell days later, after what a preliminary autopsy said was suicide.

I'm running for president to disrupt the established order, change the culture and make possible the real changes that this nation needs.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush positions himself as an establishment outsider in an op-ed published Thursday in the Des Moines Register

BEST OF THE REST: Political headlines from around the Web

Here's a rundown of the stories that caught our eye this morning:

>Donald Trump is still threatening to run as a third-party candidate, The Hill reports

>Trump opened the kimono on his business empire, from Politico.

>The Washington Post looks at why Hillary Rodham Clinton and her rivals are struggling to grasp Black Lives Matter

>Everyone in Congress has something to say about Planned Parenthood , from National Journal

>Rick Santorum said he knows people who used to be gay in a debate with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow

BOOKMARK: In The Times today, on the trail tomorrow

Here's a roundup of stories you'll be hearing more about later. Coming to a stump speech, campaign ad, robocall, debate podium soon ...

>FBI director says Islamic State poses greater threat to U.S. than Al Qaeda

>NSA leaker Edward Snowden seeks return to U.S., on his terms

>Do Americans support the Iran deal? A lot depends on how they're asked

>L.A. County supervisors agree to boost minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020

>College ratings system proposed by Obama is scrapped

>Passage of California climate change bill could set global example

Trump's immigration remarks hit a national GOP already 'at the basement' with Latinos

 (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

As Donald Trump heads to the U.S.-Mexico border, The Times' Kate Linthicum checked in on how his heated rhetoric on immigration is playing with Latino voters. Her dispatch from New Mexico, where Latinos make up nearly half the electorate, notes that while even top GOP officials have disavowed his remarks, the reaction isn't uniform.

But it's unclear what impact Trump's rhetoric will have on the party, Linthicum notes. Early polling shows most Latino voters don't necessarily think Trump's views are shared throughout the GOP. And many Latinos already have turned away from Republicans.

"Gabriel Sanchez, a political scientist at the University of New Mexico, noted that the Republican brand has already been badly damaged among Latinos, especially those who favor a path to citizenship for the 11 million people in the country illegally. In recent years, congressional Republicans have refused to take up an immigration overhaul bill favored by Democrats, saying increased border security must come first," she writes.

“We're at the basement in terms of the party brand among Latinos,” Sanchez said. “There isn't much lower to go.”

Read more

2016 presidential candidates tapping into Calif. donors

 (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

California, long known as the nation's ATM for politics, is again weighing heavily in the race for the White House. The state's deep-pocketed donors have contributed $12.8 million to presidential candidates in the 2016 contest, the most of any state, according to a MapLight analysis of federal fundraising data.

Most of the checks -- $8.1 million worth -- were written to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who along with her husband, Bill Clinton, have long-standing ties to the state.

But Republicans have raised millions here, a reflection of the trove of deep-pocketed conservative donors who call California home, and the reason why GOP presidential hopefuls swarm this state on fundraising swings.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida led the field, raising nearly $1.5 million from Californians. That's nearly double the amount former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush raised here -- $760,000 -- though Bush raised that amount in 15 days between formally kicking off his campaign on June 15 and the close of the fundraising quarter, while Rubio has been fundraising since mid-April. Bush will be back headlining fundraisers on Aug. 3 in Newport Beach and Aug. 11 in Brentwood.

The third-place finisher among Republicans is a familiar name on the California political scene -- former Hewlett Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina, who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate here in 2010. She raised $406,826. Other Republicans who raised six figures include Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Sens. Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

The candidate who is leading recent polls for the GOP nomination, businessman Donald Trump, has raised $4,950 in California since entering the race in mid-June. Other candidates, such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, kicked off their campaigns after the fundraising quarter closed, so are not included in the analysis.

These numbers don't include the millions of dollars that have flowed from this state into the "super PACs" supporting various candidates, but they offer a view of how the state's donors view the 2016 race.

Four years ago, Californians contributed $111.7 million directly to candidates. President Obama was the biggest beneficiary, receiving $62.8 million; GOP nominee Mitt Romney raised $41.3 million here. Nearly all of the remaining $7.6 million was donated to other Republican candidates during the primary.

Read more

Scott Walker to headline California GOP's fall convention

 (Matthew Putney / Courier)

(Matthew Putney / Courier)

Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker, a hero to conservatives because of his fight with organized labor as governor of Wisconsin, will headline the California Republican Party's fall convention, the party announced Thursday.

Walker, who kicked off his White House bid last week, will address several hundred of the party faithful at their biannual gathering Sept. 19 in Anaheim. That's three days after the second GOP debate, which will take place at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, raising the potential that other Republican candidates may swing by the three-day gathering of politicians, activists and donors.

Other current or previous presidential candidates who have addressed the group include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.

The candidates' appearances in this state are a reminder that while California's late primary date and deep-blue tilt make it largely irrelevant in electoral politics, it is still crucial because of its size and donor base.

Californians have contributed the most of any state's residents to 2016 presidential candidates, donating $12.8 million in the first six months of this year, according to a MapLight analysis of federal fundraising data. And the state's political activists often volunteer to help campaigns in other states.


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