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Suffolk GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle said he told Donald Trump about the murder of a Hispanic immigrant before the GOP presidential candidate went onstage at a party fundraiser in Patchogue last week.
Trump told Newsday’s editorial board last week that he had not known that the killing of Ecuadorean immigrant Marcelo Lucero in 2008 had occurred near the fundraiser’s venue.
“I made him aware there are people protesting because there was a murder, about a decade ago, up the street,” LaValle said of a conversation he had with Trump before he went onstage at The Emporium in Patchogue last Thursday.
The next day, Trump told the editorial board that he was unaware that his speech in Patchogue took place near the spot where Lucero was killed.
From the transcript:
Editorial page editor Rita Ciolli: Did anybody tell you about the killing of Mr. Lucero near that venue?
Trump: They did not ... And I would love to hear about it. I did not know that.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Religious leaders, immigration activists and Lucero’s brother had asked Suffolk Republicans to move the fundraiser because of Trump’s past statements about undocumented immigrants.
LaValle had said that while it was too late to change the venue, the controversy over Trump’s appearance “was a figment of Democrats’ imagination.” LaValle accused Democrats of exploiting the hate crime for political purposes.
LaValle said Trump, before taking the stage, “really was not aware” of the Lucero killing. His reaction was there are protesters everywhere I go,” LaValle said.