Wadit Gaitan is the chief spokesman for the Florida GOP and former House Republican staffer. Gaitan, who’s Hispanic, is quitting his job with the party because of differences with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Gaitan is joining the LIBRE Initiative, a Hispanic-focused nonprofit funded by Koch Industries.
The Washington Post reports Gaitan “can no longer tolerate defending and explaining Trump.”
“I’m thankful for my almost two years with the Florida GOP, however, moving on gives me a great, new opportunity to continue promoting free market solutions while avoiding efforts that support Donald Trump,” Gaitan said in a statement.
Here’s what you need to know about Gaitan:
1. Gaitan Has Spent 5 Years Working in Politics
Since graduating from the University of Maryland in 2011, Gaitan has worked for different campaigns and in different roles, his LinkedIn profile shows.
First working for the California Republican Party, Gaitan worked on 2012 GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign and worked for the House Republican caucus for two years.
Gaitan joined the Florida Republican Party just over a year ago, where he was the director of communications.
2. Gaitan Has Had to Defend Florida Republicans From Trump Campaign
“Unlike Trump’s campaign manager’s false attacks of a ‘rigged’ delegate system in Florida, we have been fair and transparent with our delegate election process,” Gaitan posted to Facebook.
“Mr. Lewendowski got his facts wrong,” Gaitan told CNN about Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. “…those are the rules and we follow those here in Florida. And that’s what he got wrong. We believe it’s counterproductive to go on national TV with false accusations, give false statements — it doesn’t help unite our party.”
3. Gaitan Served an Important Role for Congressional Republicans During Immigration Debates
Gaitan is a son of Honduran immigrants and is bilingual. He regularly appeared on Spanish-speaking networks to give Republicans a voice in debates usually controlled by Latinos favoring Democratic candidates.
Whether it was Univision, Telemundo or CNN, Gaitan made those connections to keep the House GOP relevant.
“We’ve been absent from the conversation with Hispanic media for so long, anything can set back that progress we’ve made in the last eight months, so we are aggressive, just like we are in mainstream media,” Nate Hodson, spokesman for the House Republican Conference, the messaging arm of House GOP lawmakers, told the Washington Post in 2013.
4. Now Headed to The LIBRE Initiative, Gaitan Will Work to Have Latinos Understand ‘Economic Freedom’
LIBRE is backed by conservative billionaire Koch brothers and is a grassroots nonprofit that promotes “limited government” and “unlimited opportunities.”
According to the Washington Post, Trump’s rhetoric toward immigrants and minorities has put a damper on the organization’s outreach toward Latinos. Adding Gaitan will bring a more high-profile operative into the mix.
5. Other Latinos Have Stepped Away from Various GOP Roles Because of Trump
Gaitan is not alone in disassociating Latino Republicans with Trump. Ruth Guerra left her post at the Republican National Committee earlier this year because of Trump, according to the New York Times. She was in charge of reaching Hispanic voters.
But Ms. Guerra told colleagues this year that she was uncomfortable working for Mr. Trump, according two R.N.C. aides who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the difficulties surrounding the party’s presumptive standard-bearer.