AS President Donald Trump spent last weekend at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after contracting COVID-19, a group of loyal Filipino American supporters in Southern California came together for a caravan and rally to double down on their support for the president.
Dubbed “Filipinos for Trump,” more than 300 Filipino Americans gathered on Sunday, October 4 at Creekside Park in Walnut, California, where they sang “God Bless America” and chanted “four more years.”
“This was a chance for us to pray, send well wishes and show our support for President Donald Trump,” Marc Ang, the president and founder of Asian Industry Business-to-Business who was among the organizers for Sunday’s event, told the Asian Journal. “We were able to share how the past four years have benefitted us as Filipino Americans.”
Echoing the sentiments of other supporters who attended on Sunday, Ang’s top priorities are a strong economy and tougher policies against China, two areas where he argued that Trump would continue to deliver on. He also voiced out his opposition to Prop 16, a measure on California’s ballot that would remove the ban on affirmative action involving race-based or sex-based preferences from the state Constitution.
The president’s own experience with the coronavirus and the fact that Filipino Americans, especially those in the health care workforce, are disproportionately affected haven’t swayed Fil-Am conservatives about taking a stronger stance on the virus.
“When you go fill out your ballot, do you want a president who will manage this virus in a practical way or a party and a nominee that [are] telling everyone to stay home and live in fear? The rest of us have lives to live and who knows how long we have left on this earth. Are we going to sit at home all day long?” Ang said.
The supporters then ventured off into their cars — decorated with signs and flags bearing messages like Trump 2020 and his campaign slogan — and paraded to nearby areas, including West Covina, Baldwin Park, and La Palma.
The Southern California gathering coincided with at least a dozen similar events nationwide in cities like Washington, D.C. and Jacksonville, Florida, under the leadership of Herman Martir, a Filipino American pastor from Fort Worth, Texas who is on Trump’s advisory commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
The day before, a smaller group of Fil-Ams gathered at the home of Henry Chen, a small business owner, in Burbank to decorate their cars and finalize the caravan schedule.
For Chen, law and order, anti-abortion and legal immigration are the issues that have drawn him as a longstanding member of the Republican Party.
“Don’t just look at the person, but look at the fundamental values. Because these values are going to continue in the future,” Chen told the Asian Journal.
The recently released 2020 Asian American Voter Survey found that though 52% of Filipino Americans are leaning toward former Vice President Joe Biden, 34% support Trump — the second highest support among Asian American groups after Vietnamese voters at 48%.
A large rally attended by Vietnamese American supporters was also held in Westminster on Saturday. (AJPress)