Trump Targets Univision’s ‘Candidate Forum,’ Says Program Should Be Shut Down

Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid
Reuters/Brendan Mcdermid
Washington, DC

Univision isn’t enough of a legitimate media network for the Republican National Committee (RNC) to have worked with it on an official GOP presidential primary debate, and now real estate magnate and GOP candidate Donald Trump is calling for Univision to lose even more.

Trump—who’s polling in the top-tier since announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination—is calling for Univision to not be allowed to host a presidential forum for GOP candidates that would potentially violate RNC rules.

Trump’s latest statement comes amid a war with the network after his campaign announcement last week, in which he specifically targeted illegal aliens, problems with American border security and bad trade deals that benefit Mexico but decimate America.

In response to Trump’s tough pro-American worker talk, the Mexican government launched various missives at him—including a top official within their government calling his comments “biased and absurd.” Then, Univision—a massive Spanish-language network that broadcasts in the United States and throughout Latin America—announced it would be breaking its contract with the Trump Organization to broadcast Miss USA pageants over the next several years, including including an upcoming event scheduled for July.

Trump said on Thursday he plans to sue the network for millions in damages—telling Breitbart News he’s already hired legal counsel to do so—and that he believes Univision is doing this on behalf of the Mexican government. Trump specifically called out several Univision figures including top “newsman” Jorge Ramos and network owner Haim Saban for being Hillary Clinton supporters.

In addition, the network’s president of Programming and Content–Alberto Ciurana–posted on his Instagram page an image that compared Trump to Charleston, South Carolina, murderer Dylann Roof.

“Just days before Univision announced it would host a Republican debate, one of its top executives likened a Republican candidate to alleged mass murderer Dylann Storm Roof,” the Washington Free Beacon’s Brent Scher wrote. “Alberto Ciurana, Univision’s president of programming and content, made a post on his official Instagram account last week that appeared to indicate that there were similarities between Trump and Roof, who last week killed nine people in a shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C.”

Ciurana has since deleted the image and issued a follow-up “apology” on his Instagram page.

“I’m Mexican who was very upset by Mr. Trump’s recent comments about Mexican immigrants, but I should not have re-posted the photo,” Ciurana said in his apology.

Trump says that’s not an apology at all—and that Ciurana should resign from the network immediately or be fired. He also says the RNC should crack down and not allow Univision to host its candidate forum with Republicans.

“Alberto Ciurana issued an apology to me late last night. Apology not accepted,” Trump said. “I call for his resignation as president of Univision and Univision should not be allowed to host the Presidential debate. It is a total conflict of interest.”

Media Research Center president Brent Bozell also says Republicans should crack down on Univision’s overt partisanship—and its open support for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.

“Univision’s unwillingness to discipline Alberto Ciurana, their president of programming and content, is outrageous,” Bozell said in a statement.

How, in this day and age, an executive of a supposed news company can get away with comparing a candidate for President to a cold-blooded murderer without consequences is unfathomable. If an executive at Univision had done the same thing with Hillary Clinton, is there any doubt he would be fired by now? Univision must remove Ciurana from his current position immediately and salvage what credibility it has left. Ciurana’s “apology” was nothing of the sort. He must personally apologize to Mr. Trump and his family. If he cannot apologize, and Univision will not discipline, the GOP should cancel its planned presidential debate on that network.

Univision is technically not hosting a debate, RNC spokesman Sean Spicer told Breitbart News.

“There is no Univision sanctioned debate,” Spicer said in an email.

The only Spanish language network right now that is involved in any debates with the GOP primary is Univision competitor Telemundo—which will be working with NBC on a debate in February 2016 in Florida.

That being said, Univision announced—along with the Washington Post—that it will host a Republican candidate “forum” that may violate RNC rules. Therefore, as Spicer told Politico when news of this development first broke, any Republican who chooses to participate in Univision’s activity could be penalized, losing delegates later.

“While we encourage forums that are in compliance with RNC rules, we are currently uncertain of the proposed format for this forum and therefore cannot confirm it is permitted under the rules,” Spicer said of the planned Univision forum. “Until further clarification, as stated in the RNC rules, candidates who participate in an unsanctioned debate will not be permitted to participate in sanctioned debates.”