Maria Teresa Kumar: ‘A lot of people were going to be waking up to a very different world’

María Teresa Kumar was on-air on MSNBC when the election was called for President Trump.

“There was a cameraman, an older Jewish gentleman, who literally mouthed the words ‘I’m sorry’ to me, and he had tears running down his face,” said Kumar, president and CEO of Latino political group Voto Latino.

“It was a moment in which Latinos and the Jewish community immediately understood who we had just voted into office.”


Kumar, an advocate for increased Latino political participation, compared election night 2016 to another night she spent at the Rockefeller Center — the night President Obama won the White House for the first time.

In 2008, Kumar said, “all of Rockefeller Center was a concert, there were people everywhere. Outside, the skating rink was packed.”

In 2016 at 8 p.m., “the place was basically empty.”

Kumar said the election made her work change overnight.

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Voto Latino ran a voter information hotline during the campaigns, a service Kumar says quickly became a support line for immigrants, particularly “Dreamers” — immigrants who arrived in the United States illegally as children.

“It was very surreal, the whole thing,” she said. “A lot of people were going to be waking up to a very different world.”

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