How Filipino Republicans should react to DeSantis’ exit | Inquirer

How Filipino Republicans should react to DeSantis’ exit, and Haley’s fight to the finish

/ 06:45 AM January 22, 2024

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ dropping out of the presidential race was an inevitability after finishing 30 points behind in the Iowa caucuses. He then went to South Carolina and skipped New Hampshire, while firing much of his PAC staffers. Over the weekend, he finally decided to cut his losses, get out of the cold and head home.

The anti-woker’s campaign is dead. Now he’s endorsing Trump?

It leaves us with the misogynists’ dream battle. Trump v. Haley, mano y mano.

Trump, the man who grabs women by the p-word.

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Trump, the man who couldn’t control himself last week in a New York court room in the case involving his defamation of writer E. Jean Carroll. It must have been traumatizing for  Carrol, an 80-year-old woman, to testify in Trump’s presence how he has wrecked her good name and her life.  Trump has already been found liable for sexually assaulting Carrol, tantamount to rape. And now the court is considering punitive damages that could reach in excess of $10 million.

This is the man Republicans want to be their president. Half the US population is female. And a master misogynist is the best the GOP can do?

DeSantis speaking at podium with US flag in background

Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters during a caucus night party, Jan. 15, 2024, in West Des Moines, Iowa. He ended his White House bid Sunday, Jan. 21, after failing to meet lofty expectations that he would seriously challenge former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

For Filipino Republicans who prefer their candidates not to have four criminal indictments on 91 felony counts, DeSantis’ departure should make their choice easier for all the wrong reasons. The Filipino Republicans I’ve talked to were all to a degree closet misogynists.


Whenever I asked them since 2016,  if they were still for Trump after he had exposed himself as a failed moral leader, the answer I got was always the same.

“Well, he’s better than Hillary,” they all said.

Hillary Clinton, the Democrat? But she’s a woman? Same thing, they’d say.


In 2024, there’s still such a visceral hate for Hillary, and women among the Trump base that it’s hard not to see all that misogyny transferred to Haley.

But Filipino Trump lovers of whatever gender should know better.

And it’s not just the sexism.

Trump’s racist jabs

In her effort to be all things to all people, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said this week that “America is not a racist country.”

And then Donald Trump proved her wrong by calling Haley by her Indian name–Nimarata Nikki Randhawa Haley— just to rile up the scores of racists in Trump’s Republican MAGA base.

Only Trump put an even finer point on it all, purposefully referring to Haley in his social media posts as “Nikki Nimrada Haley.”

Makes it all the more “slurrier.”

Trump makes a silly face

President Donald Trump walks over to speak to members of the media before boarding Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, for the short flight to nearby Andrews Air Force Base, Md., July 24, 2019. FILE PHOTO (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

By the way, “nimrod” is a biblical reference to a mighty man or hunter (Genesis 10: 8-12). But it’s also slang for idiot or jerk.

Which do you suppose Trump intended?

Welcome to the third-grade mentality of the GOP in the  New Hampshire Republican Primary, the first primary in the nation.

If you thought that Trump was so dominant after the Iowa Caucuses that he would cruise in New Hampshire, the opposite is the case. When the going gets tough, the tough go racist, and Trump is using racism in so many ways to separate voters from aligning with Haley.

Trump’s message is that Haley is “the other” and not like “us.” It’s political racism 101.

Trump starts with the racist name mangling but gets more insidious when he puts out disinformation that Haley’s immigrant parents disqualify Haley to be president.


Haley, whose birthday is the Saturday before the New Hampshire primary, was born Jan. 20, 1972 in Bamberg, South Carolina. It was the first state to secede from the Union, but was part of the United States when she was born. Maybe MAGA-types spreading rumors about Haley will apologize for their ignorance by singing her a chorus of “Happy Birthday.”

The truth is, by virtue of the 14th Amendment, any person born on American soil is entitled to claim US citizenship by birthright.

Asian American history mavens will note the law was solidified in the Wong Kim Ark case, where a Chinese American born in San Francisco, but who then visited China as an adult, was barred from returning. Wong Kim Ark sued for re-entry and won a Supreme Court decision that has been the law since March 28, 1898.

Unfortunately, too many MAGA types fall for the racist logic of Trump and spread the disinformation.

Of course, Trump has used the birther approach to attack opponents before, as he did when spreading lies about Barack Obama being born in Africa and not on American soil. Obama was, of course, born in Hawaii, the 50th state in the nation.

But Trump uses racism because it works emotionally on voters, far better than comparing stances on say, immigration policy.

And that’s why in many ways, Trump’s racism is perfectly lodged against Haley because she believes in so many of the racist immigration policies that Trump embraces.

Haley is against sanctuary cities. She’s pro-deportation of the undocumented. She believes “illegals” are the cause of crime. All of it. It’s rhetoric that’s indistinguishable from Trump.

She’s Trump with a better tan. In a dress.

But Trump knows that beyond policy, the most important thing among aggrieved Republican voters in the MAGA cult is he’s white and she’s not.

That’s his opening to keep all his voters in line.

Since Haley can’t afford to lose a single GOP voter, she doesn’t fight back. Especially not on the racism part.

Nikki the careerist

You know her type from your work life. Haley is the careerist, who thinks she’s there based on merit. Racism? She’s overcome it, if it were ever a real problem. Haley stays positive and repeats her mantra, “I got here on my own. America is a great country. It’s the content of my character, not the color of my skin.”

Haley speaking, holding a microphone

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event in Derry, N.H., Jan. 21, 2024. Former President Donald Trump and Haley are going head to head in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, Jan. 23. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

It’s fine to be so positive, but then along comes Trump to dump on her character and see only the color of her skin.

Haley just smiles like she did on the CNN Town Hall last week, saying she knows Trump and that he lies. Almost as much as she said DeSantis lied.

That’s as hard as Haley attacks, calling Trump a liar. She doesn’t even get to “pants on fire.”

But she especially won’t say he’s a racist because she needs all the racist votes from Trump she can get.

It makes Haley worse than an election denier. She’s a racism denier.

So when she said America is not a racist country this week in New Hampshire, it was no surprise, really.

During the Iowa caucuses, she already omitted slavery as a cause of the civil war.

But to say that racism is not in the institutional DNA of the US – from slave- holding founding fathers to the stripping of land from Native Americans – is so disingenuous. A moral person couldn’t do it with a straight face. Haley does it with a passion.

The truth is America has always tilted toward the preservation and protection of white supremacy. And it’s especially true with Asians in America.

From the Chinese exclusion, to the exclusion of other Asian groups, including Asian Indians in 1917 in the West, to the racist quotas installed in the 1924 Immigration Act, the racism toward Asians in America is so real.

At first, Filipinos were excluded from exclusion by being American nationals. But by 1934, that changed when Filipinos’ status changed to Filipino nationals and they were asked to self-deport.

It wasn’t until 1965 when the racist quotas were lifted through the Hart-Cellar Act that Asians, including Filipinos, were allowed to enter in great numbers.

Biden with one hand raised

President Joe Biden speaks at an event in Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 18, 2024. Among Democrats, Biden is on track to win the Democratic nomination easily. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown, File)

Haley may say that Trump lies, but what is Haley doing in failing to acknowledge the racism past and present in American policy? Especially toward Asians – including Filipinos past and present.

Is she gaslighting Asian American history?

Trump gave her an opening to be her true authentic self. But it only revealed Haley the political animal, who it appears is not much better for a diverse 2024 America than Trump himself.

Over the weekend, Haley stepped up her attack on Trump saying that Trump may not be mentally fit to be president. Trump confused Haley for Nancy Pelosi in remarks about Jan. 6. Haley wasn’t in DC nor involved in Jan. 6.nimf

Imagine Trump confusing Xi Jinping for Bong Bong? What would be the defense? All Asians look alike?

So Trump’s confused and Haley’s gaslighting. What’s a Filipino Republican to do?

The reality is the best candidate for the GOP and America just may be the incumbent, the moderate Democrat. Economically, President Joe Biden has brought the country out of inflation without stagnation. The stock market is at an all-time high. You’ll still pay more for mamon at your favorite Filipino bakery, but in general, the economy is pretty good. Biden had something to do with that. And he’s pro-immigrant like many of you.

Above all, Biden’s not a racist. Nor a misogynist. That should be important to all Filipino American voters, not just Republicans.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. He writes a column for’s US Channel. He does a micro-talk show on

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TAGS: Donald Trump, President Biden, Republican Party, Republican presidential campaign, US elections
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