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Castro brothers on how Donald Trump has motivated U.S. Latinos

Two of the nation’s leading Latino politicians weigh in on the state of the Clinton-Kaine campaign. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Tex., and his twin brother, Julián Castro, who was a potential Hillary Clinton veep pick, predict Donald Trump’s rhetoric on Mexicans will boost Latino turnout at the polls and that the former secretary of state will get upwards of 75 percent of that vote.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    As we know, conventions are often a place where relative newcomers capture the national political spotlight. In 2012, that was true for Julian Castro, then mayor of San Antonio. He's now serving in President Obama's Cabinet as the secretary of housing and urban development.

    His brother, Joaquin Castro, is a second-term congressman from San Antonio.

    Both men are being floated as potential next heads of the Democratic National Committee, and both of them join us now.

    And we welcome you to the program.

    To Julian Castro first. You were — I have to ask you, you were clearly on the list for Hillary Clinton to consider as her vice presidential running mate. You even did a tryout. You went out and campaigned with her. She chose Tim Kaine. Was he the best choice?

  • JULIAN CASTRO, Hillary Clinton Supporter:

    Oh, I think he was. She chose an excellent man. He's a very good man.

    He's very well-prepared, having been a governor, a senator, sitting on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Maybe most importantly, he shares a broad, inclusive view of America, so he is going to be a great vice presidential nominee and a great vice president to serve her.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Let's talk about the great inclusive role, Congressman Castro. We know that Tim Kaine, among other great qualities, speaks Spanish quite fluently.

    So, that brings me to the question of what two of the nation's leading Latino politicians think about how this campaign is playing out, and whether Texas is in play and whether Latino voters are in play for Donald Trump?

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-Texas):

    Well, first, I think that the Clinton campaign, the Clinton-Kaine campaign now, is doing an excellent job connecting with Latino voters.

    We have seen more permanent residents in this cycle wanting to become citizens. We have seen more people, including many Hispanics, registering to vote. And so that's a good thing. And I do believe that she will get upwards of 75 percent of the Latino vote in this election.

    The fact is Donald Trump is trying to divide Americans along racial and ethnic lines, and it's unhealthy for the country. I say that as somebody who our grandmother came here from Mexico when she was 6 years old. And my grandmother was not a murderer or a rapist. She was an orphan who came with her younger sister.

    So to hear Donald Trump kick off his campaign with a slur against immigrants was very hard to take.

  • JULIAN CASTRO:

    He really has, truly has motivated the Latino community more than any other presidential candidate, I think, in generations, and motivated them in a negative way.

    And so if the turnout rate in 2012 among Hispanics was 48 percent, I expect it to go at least into the 50s for this election. And that's going to, I think, make a big difference in places like Colorado, Nevada, Florida, even in places like Virginia, with Northern Virginia, as diverse as it is.

    It was a mistake for the Republicans to nominate someone who is seen in the Hispanic community as being against them.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    At the same time, Congressman Castro, you were quoted as saying, I think, just a couple of days ago that part of the vote that Donald Trump is attracting has to do with a fear about the economy.

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO:

    Sure.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Is Hillary Clinton addressing that?

    I know Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview I think just today that the party hasn't really spoken to those Americans who are worried about the economy.

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO:

    Yes.

    No, I think that she is. President Obama has brought this country back economically so far from where we were when he took office, and Hillary Clinton is going to take that baton and take us even further. And what she's doing is what we have done for generations, which is really build out an infrastructure of opportunity in America.

    That means building great public schools and universities, a strong health care system, including keeping the Affordable Care Act, and then an economy that works well for people so that when they put in a hard day's work, they can support themselves and their family members. Those are the fundamentals that have distinguished this nation from other nations in the world.

    And she's going to build up opportunity. Donald Trump is going to tear it down if he becomes president.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Julian Castro, I want to ask you about today's news, in which Donald Trump suggested that maybe it might be OK if Vladimir Putin did some — how do I put this — did some checking into Hillary Clinton's e-mails and changed — and shared them with the world.

    We have, of course, been dealing this week with the DNC hack. And there has been a lot of speculation, especially among Democrats, that the Russians are behind it. What's your reaction to that?

  • JULIAN CASTRO:

    It's troubling, to say the least, first of all, that a foreign government would be trying to influence the outcome of a national election in the United States, and, secondly, that you have a Republican candidate who is embracing that, effectively.

    I especially cannot imagine anyone who grew up during the Cold War era listening to Donald Trump and saying, you know what, that's a guy that I want to support. It makes zero sense. And it's more evidence that he's just unfit, unprepared, just doesn't get it, shouldn't be the commander in chief of this nation.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    At the same time, again, Congressman Castro, it's clear not only are Americans concerned, some of them, concerned about the economy. They are worried about security.

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO:

    Right.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    ISIS is out there. There have been a number of shootings this year for different parts of the country.

    You know, are we hearing from this Democratic Party at this convention what Hillary Clinton's plan is to do something about it?

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO:

    Yes, we absolutely will tonight.

    And she has been talking about it on the campaign trail. She's eminently more qualified than Donald Trump is on national security and foreign policy. You're right. Terrorism has essentially become a franchise in the Middle East and North Africa and increasingly in other parts of the world.

    And Hillary Clinton is going to make sure that Americans are safe at home and abroad.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Let me help our viewers who are confused just for a moment.

    This is Joaquin Castro.

    This is Julian Castro.

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO:

    I'm sorry that we both wore blue suits.

  • JULIAN CASTRO:

    I always said that the way to tell us apart is that, even though we're twins, I'm a minute uglier than he is. So, that's the shorthand.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    We were hoping you would wear your congressional pin and help us out.

    But here's the thing. You two have now been on the scene for long enough. A San Antonio paper once wrote that you were double the talent and twice the ambition.

    So, I going to give you both the chance to be political analyst and tell us, what does Hillary Clinton have to do in the next four months in order to win this thing?

  • JULIAN CASTRO:

    She has got to do what she's been doing. She's going to have 30, 40 minutes tomorrow night to connect with the American people, not in a 30-second ad, but to lay out her personal biography and why she's qualified.

    And, you know, she's taken 25 years of attacks from the Republican spin machine. And so she has the opportunity tomorrow to lay out the case, and I expect her to do that. With Tim Kaine, she has somebody who can go out and I think carry that message well, including to diverse communities.

    They're going to be a very powerful ticket together, and I expect that she's going to win in November.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    But, Joaquin Castro…

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO:

    And here's my pin, by the way. I'm sorry…

    (CROSSTALK)

    (LAUGHTER)

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    How come you didn't put that on earlier?

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO:

    I was going to do it later.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    But, at the same time, Hillary Clinton, yes, she's out there making the case, but there's this big trust gap, if you will, that she has. How does she address that?

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO:

    Well, I think she's just got to try to be herself. And she's got to talk about the issues that Americans care about, which is what she's been doing.

    As Julian said, this is somebody who has faced an incredible headwind, not just when she was on the national stage, but even before that, when she was first lady of Arkansas and her husband was governor, so, really, 25 years in the national spotlight, but 40 years in politics.

    That's a lot of people running a lot of negative ads about you and trying to define who you are. Tomorrow night, she gets to tell the American people in an unvarnished way who she is, what she believes and what she sees for the country.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Julian Castro…

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO:

    No, the other…

    (CROSSTALK)

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Joaquin Castro — I knew I was going to do this.

    Joaquin Castro, Julian Castro, thank you both very much.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    I'm glad you did that, and I didn't.

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO:

    Good to be with you.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Thank you.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Thank you both.

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