What to Know
- The mayor and deputy mayor of Hackensack, New Jersey leave the Republican party in protest of Donald Trump
- They say they're fed up with the presumptive presidential nominee's rhetoric
- Hackensack has a roughly 40 percent Hispanic population
The mayor and deputy mayor of a New Jersey city have ditched their Republican party affiliation, fed up with what they call racist comments by Donald Trump, the party's presumptive presidential nominee.
"It's crossing the line now. We're getting to the point where you can't be doing that," said Hackensack Mayor John Labrosse.
"This was not a decision we made lightly," said Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino.
Labrosse and Canestrino ended their party affiliation Thursday and now consider themselves independents. They did not vote for Trump in the New Jersey primaries this past Tuesday.
Trump has been criticized for racially charged comments about Mexicans and Muslims, and drew backlash from many in the Republican party last week after implying an American-born judge presiding over a Trump University lawsuit may not be impartial because of his Mexican heritage.
With a roughly 40 percent Latino population in Hackensack, Labrosse and Canestrino said they owed it to their citizens to distance themselves from Trump.
"It was important for us to say to anyone who's listening that this is not anything we're fond or anything we'll tolerate in our city," said Canestrino.
Ben Rivero, a Republican and owner of Casual Habana Cafe on Hackensack's Main Street said he, too, is disillusioned by the election.
"I'm very happy to hear that the mayor stands behind the Latin community," he said, but added, "I'm not going to vote for Hillary Clinton, that's for sure."
Despite their break with the GOP, Labrosse and Canestrino also say Clinton doesn't have their vote just yet.
"I've voted for Democrats in the past and Republicans in the past, and I'm gonna vote for whoever I think is the best person at the time," said Labrosse.
The mayor and deputy mayor say the city council is a non-partisan voting body so their change won't have any effect on how it is governed.
They say Trump could win their votes for November if he changes his rhetoric.