Univision CEO Pens Open Letter Calling for Presidential Debates to Include a Hispanic Moderator

Randy Falco Getty H 2016
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Univision's star anchor, Jorge Ramos, a vocal critic of Donald Trump, has campaigned to be a moderator for a debate.

Randy Falco, the CEO of Univision, is speaking out about the omission of a Hispanic journalist as a moderator for the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debates. 

"We ask again for you to reconsider leaving a Spanish-language moderator out of the presidential debate panels, the exec wrote in an open letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates (full letter below). 

The lineup of moderators for the series of high-profile debates includes NBC's Lester Holt, ABC's Martha Raddatz, CNN's Anderson Cooper and Fox News' Chris Wallace.

Univision's star anchor, Jorge Ramos, a vocal critic of Donald Trump, has campaigned to be a moderator for a debate and expressed disappointment on Twitter on Friday when the names were unveiled. 

The first debate is set for September 26 at Hofstra University in New York, followed by debates in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9 and Las Vegas, Nevada on October 19. 

Falco wrote a letter expressing the same point four years ago during the Barack Obama-Mitt Romney general election face-off.

It was unlikely Ramos would have been chosen to moderate, as the commission has grappled with devising a roster of journalists who would not rankle Trump.

Ramos openly tangled with the candidate last summer at a rally in Iowa when the journalist challenged the candidate on his promise to deport 11 million illegal immigrants. Trump admonished Ramos to "sit down" and "go back to Univision" before ejecting Ramos.

Ramos was later allowed back inside and Trump reluctantly took his question. But the exchange was far from civil.

"Here's the problem with your immigration plan. It's full of empty promises," Ramos said, adding that Trump's plan to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and to stop giving automatic citizenship to their children born on U.S. soil was unrealistic.

Trump defended his plan and reminded Ramos of his $500 million lawsuit against Univision for dropping Trump's Miss Universe pageant.

Univision CEO Randy Falco's new letter to Janet H. Brown, executive director for The Commission on Presidential Debates, is below: 

Dear Ms. Brown,

I am writing to express disappointment, and frankly disbelief, that the Commission on Presidential Debates has not chosen a Hispanic journalist to moderate the presidential debates. The inclusion of CBS' Elaine Quijano as a moderator for the Vice Presidential debate is certainly a welcome addition but seems insufficient when taking into account past presidential cycles, future demographic trends and the important role Latinos play in the economic and social fabric of this great nation. Simply put: it’s an abdication of your responsibility to represent and reflect one of the largest and most influential communities in the U.S.

Since 1980, no candidate for President of the United States has won without at least 30% of the Latino vote – Reagan won with 37%, Bush Sr. with 30%, Bush Jr. with 40%, Clinton with 72% and Obama with 71%. And we are seeing the number of registered Hispanic voters in key battleground states like Colorado, Nevada and Florida is trending upward. In fact, since the 2012 Presidential Elections, the percentage of Hispanic registered voters has increased to 16% in Nevada and 19% in Florida. Sum these data points with the fact that, once registered, Latinos turnout at equal to or higher rates than other voter groups, and the conclusion is obvious: candidates must engage and speak directly to these voters.

We understand the critical role the debate process plays in informing voters about each candidate’s position on the issues that impact them directly, such as jobs and the economy and health, among others. So it is essential that the community hears firsthand where the candidates stand, what their policy solutions are and how they plan to implement their vision through the prism of a trusted journalist who represents Hispanic America and appreciates the nuances of this diverse demographic.

We ask again for you to reconsider leaving a Spanish-language moderator out of the presidential debate panels. As always, we stand ready to create additional venues where the Committee and the candidates can focus on Latinos. The Hispanic community will play a pivotal role in electing the next President and in all federal elections for the foreseeable future. We look forward to working with the Commission to address what we believe to be a troubling trend – the lack of the Hispanic perspective – and hope we can forge a new path forward.

Randy Falco President & CEO