Trump spotlighting shock slaying of mom allegedly killed by illegal immigrant evokes effective 2016 strategy

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Former President Donald Trump’s phone call to the mother of a Maryland woman allegedly slain by an illegal immigrant reflects similar outreach to “angel families” during the 2016 election, an effective strategy that personalized the border issue and kept it front and center in his campaign.

In a Thursday call with Patty Morin – the mother of Rachel Morin, a 37-year-old mother of five who was allegedly murdered by an illegal immigrant who entered the country as a “gotaway” last year – Trump expressed support for the Morin family during a conversation that lasted roughly 20 minutes.

Patty Morin said in a press release offered by her attorney that she was “deeply touched by President Trump’s kindness and concern.”

“He was genuine and truly wanted to know how our family was coping,” she added. “He asked about Rachel and showed honest compassion for her untimely death. His words brought comfort to me during this very difficult time.”


That call was one of several that Trump has made to families battling similar issues, where he has lent hope and compassion to those who have lost family members or other loved ones in recent years due to heinous acts committed by individuals who had come to the U.S. illegally.

In February, Trump reached out to the parents of Laken Riley – the Georgia nursing student who had been brutally murdered, allegedly by an illegal migrant – and described them as “incredible people” who were “devastated” over the untimely death of their daughter.

“A beautiful 22-year-old nursing student from Georgia was barbarically attacked. She was on a morning run … she was a beautiful young woman,” the former president said during a visit to the southern border. “I spoke to her parents yesterday, they are incredible people. They are devastated beyond belief. She was so beautiful in so many ways.”

During his campaign for president in 2016, amid multiple high-profile deaths of Americans at the hands of illegal immigrants, Trump made an effort to bring the issue into national focus.

The fatal shooting of Kate Steinle in July 2015 sparked a national debate about illegal immigration and so-called “sanctuary cities.” The 32-year-old was shot and killed by Jose Ines Garcia Zarate when she was walking with her father and a family friend on Pier 14 in San Francisco.


Kate Steinle family, mother holding photo of Kate

Garcia Zarate, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who would later be acquitted of the murder, had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Steinle was shot. Trump later referred to the not-guilty verdict in the Steinle murder trial as “disgraceful” and insisted there is “no wonder” why Americans are “so angry with Illegal Immigration.”

At an April 2016 campaign rally, Trump welcomed to the stage several “angel families” – a term to describe relatives of victims killed by illegal immigrants in the U.S. – to share their thoughts on the issue and display photos of the loved ones they had lost.

At one point, Trump handed the microphone to Jamiel Shaw, whose son had been murdered by an illegal immigrant who had been released from jail the day before on prior gun charges.

Highlighting the fact that his son had been killed by an “illegal alien on his third gun charge,” Shaw said at the time, “We demand Americans first.”

Donald Trump at 2016 campaign event with "angel families"

Trump referred to Shaw as a “great guy” at the rally and insisted that people like him “all have a very similar story to tell” in that “people that shouldn’t have been here, people that should have never been allowed to come over the border” had taken their family from them.

Due to his support for the families, as well as his vow to “stop” the killings of innocent Americans by illegal immigrants, Trump earned the support of Shaw and many others like him ahead of the 2016 election.


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