- By Molly O’Toole
- June 7, 2016
The street where a shootout last December ended the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 is very familiar to Michael Ramos, San Bernardino County’s first Hispanic district attorney: It’s the same one where he grew up, in a house built by his grandfather, an immigrant from Mexico.
That’s why Ramos, a Republican who faces his own long-shot bid for state attorney general in liberal-rich California, is pushing back against the GOP’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, for politicizing his hometown’s tragedy. A married couple inspired by Islamic extremists went on a shooting spree in the chaparral and strip-mall strewn Southern California community, leaving 14 people dead.
“I won’t ever use the victims for political reasons,” Ramos said Saturday, even as he acknowledged the San Bernardino attacks have strengthened his name recognition statewide.
“Before, when people would ask where I was from, I would say between LA and Palm Springs,” he said. “Now I don’t have to say a word … everybody in the world knows where San Bernardino is. I wouldn’t wish that on any county in America.”
Ramos, his county’s chief prosecutor, has made public vigilance and victims rights a key part of his campaign. But as California votes in Tuesday’s presidential primary — the largest and one of the last in the U.S. campaign — Ramos underscored the state’s diversity as a strength, not a security vulnerability. In San Bernardino County alone, 51.7 percent of the population is Hispanic or Latino, and 21.3 percent is foreign born.
For Trump, on the other hand, name recognition has never been an issue. Cheering crowds and jeering protesters have met his campaign stops throughout California before Tuesday’s vote.
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