United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Javier Palomarez said Wednesday he plans to remain on President Donald Trump's National Diversity Council, only to keep a Hispanic person near the White House.
"If I walk away, if I give up in frustration, the only people who win are the Steve Bannons and Steve Millers of this world," Palomarez told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "They would love to have one less Hispanic with free access to the White House, to the president, to Ivanka Trump and several of the secretaries."
Palomarez on Tuesday issued a statement calling on the president to fire Bannon, his chief strategist, in the wake of the Charlottesville racial violence and controversy over Trump's response to the issue, reports The Dallas Morning News.
The firing, he said is a "needed step to begin the process of healing the bad feelings this administration has engendered."
Further, Palomarez said, "denouncing white supremacy without equivocation and without reservation should have been a no-brainer for President Trump," but "it seems clear that influential members of his administration were more worried about winning votes through dog whistles and winks and nods to the most evil elements of our society than in maintaining the moral authority of the presidency."
Wednesday, Palomarez told MSNBC that he completely understands why five CEOs have stepped away from the president's Manufacturing Council, but didn't agree that it was time for him to do the same thing.
"I support and commend them for taking a thumbs up to a middle finger very quickly, and perhaps rightly so," he said. "That is their option and they have right to it."
Palomarez continued that he serves at the pleasure of small business owners and job creators who put him in his role, but that it's important to get back to work on immigration, healthcare, and tax reform.
"Those are the issues that I want to get back to," said Palomarez. "Do I commend what's happened here? Do I support, I do endorse in any way? Absolutely not. This is deplorable. It should have been a defining moment for this president. He failed it, again, the presidency and this president will be defined by this moment forever."
However, he said he is debating stepping aside from the council.
"My phone is ringing off the hook," Palomarez said. "We represent again 4.2 million Hispanic owned firms. We're supported by over 270 American corporations. We take no government funding of any sort. We refuse to."
At some point, he said his organization may decide to walk away, but as for now, it wants to get back to business, despite Trump's actions now and in the past.
"This isn't about serving any one president," Palomarez said. "My job is to ensure that my constituency has a place at the table, has a voice in the dialogue, regardless of who is in the president's seat. That is our role. I don't support what this president has said or done in the past. I think it's deplorable, but the fact is that we have a job to do, regardless of whether that is a male, a female, a Republican, a Democrat, whoever is in the White House."
In addition, he said, there are people around Trump, like daughter Ivanka, Secretary [of Treaury Steven] Mnuchin, and Secretary [of Energy Rick] Perry who have given his group an audience.
"I serve at the pleasure of American small business," he said. "Those are the people who put me in this role, and until they call on me to quit, I'm not going to quit."
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