Mingling over breakfast one day this week, Kirsten Saavedra had little interest avoiding the obvious.
Saavedra, a guest of California Republicans, is things many other Donald Trump backers here are not: Latina. A millennial.
“I am not the stereotypical Trump supporter,” the 26-year-old from Irvine said.
Saavedra wanted so much to represent California for Trump at the Republican National Convention that she applied to be a delegate. When the Trump campaign passed on her, she came as a guest, befriending delegates from other states through her online network and shared devotion to Trump.
On Wednesday, Saavedra swapped passes with a member of Florida’s delegation, giving her coveted access to the convention floor, where diehards booed and jeered Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for his perceived lack of loyalty to the nominee.
Not everyone has been so kind to her, especially with the anonymity of the internet. She’s been called a sellout and once was told to “go kill yourself.”
Growing up in San Diego, Saavedra said she has friends from Mexico, and supports legal immigration to the U.S. Still, Saavedra said people struggle to understand how a Latina (her grandparents are from Spain and Argentina) could back Trump given his remarks about immigrants.
Trump has said the Mexican government is forcing its most unwanted people into the U.S., including criminals and rapists. “And some, I assume, are good people,” he added.
I have to be a part of the campaign.
Saavedra believes his remarks have been twisted into something they are not. “If you were racist you couldn’t survive in New York,” she said.
She sees Trump as a generous, philanthropic man who is acting for the good of the country, and Hillary Clinton as very much the opposite.
“I don’t want to get into religion,” she said. “This is a ‘good’ and ‘evil’ type of election.”
The U.S. Supreme Court, and the seats expected to open, are among the campaign’s most important issues. The prospect of Clinton getting multiple high court appointments, “really scares me,” she said.
Saavedra, a student who said she works in the medical reimbursement field, has attended Trump rallies in Anaheim, Costa Mesa and San Diego, and transformed her social media accounts into channels of advocacy for the New York mogul. She convinced her parents, lifelong Democrats, to register as Republicans and get behind Trump.
“I hate to put it this way, but they were ‘misinformed voters,’” she said, contrasting their at times aloof approach with her copious research.
“I have to be a part of the campaign.”