Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was greeted by nearly two hundred people from across Orange County at the Westminster Rose Center Friday afternoon, including Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders.
But Clinton, the second presidential candidate to visit Little Saigon, drew relatively few Vietnamese American voters to the audience. Unlike most other Asian subgroups, Vietnamese have long leaned Republican, and nearly all the Vietnamese American elected officials in the county are registered Republicans.
Compared to local rallies for Republican candidate Donald Trump, where protestors for and against Trump have clashed violently, Clinton’s was tame and orderly.
She was introduced by Asian Americans leaders like congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park); Trung Ta, a prominent Vietnamese American Democrat in Orange County; and two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan. Westminster council members Diana Carey and Sergio Contreras were also in attendance.
Much of Clinton’s remarks were a repeat of her speech in San Diego on Thursday, where she characterized Trump as divisive, extreme and unfit to serve as commander-in-chief.
“That’s why we can’t let him near the White House. His idea about immigration is to create what he’s calling a deportation force,” said Clinton Friday. “Where they knock down doors and pull people out…that is so un-American.”
Although Clinton is likely to be the Democratic nominee, her edge over Sen. Bernie Sanders has narrowed in recent weeks thanks in part to a swell in support for Sanders among young Latino and Asian American voters. According to a Los Angeles Times poll, Clinton has a ten percent lead over Sanders among likely voters.
After the event in Westminster, Clinton attended a private event with supporters in Santa Ana at a restaurant called Crave, and then moved on to events in Culver City and San Bernardino.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Clinton was the first presidential candidate to visit Little Saigon. The first was Sen. John McCain in 2000.
Contact Thy Vo at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.