U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose hard-line immigration policies have won him a loyal following in some circles, has found an apparent ally in a Cambodian community in southern California.
Mr. Trump opened his Los Angeles campaign headquarters on Sunday with a traditional Cambodian “blessing dance” at a building that also houses the United Cambodian Community Center in Long Beach, California, according to U.S. website Breitbart News.
During an event complete with Apsara dancers and traditional Khmer music in an area known as “Cambodia Town,” the conservative website said Mr. Trump received a “warm, diverse” welcome.
Several members of the United Cambodian Community (UCC), however, said they were shocked upon seeing the news, posting on Facebook that they did not want to be associated with the Republican candidate and former reality television star.
“Sad for the Donald,” wrote Sayon Syprasoeuth, listed as the group’s program coordinator for living arts. “U C C, where I work does N O T support this poor soul that thinks he can lead this great nation.”
The confusion appears to stem from two similarly named entities, the United Cambodian Community Center and the United Cambodian Community of Long Beach. The community center—and the building that now also houses Mr. Trump’s campaign headquarters—are owned by a man named Gary Fultheim.
Mr. Fultheim has left a trail of internet commentary attacking opposition leader Sam Rainsy, accusing him of “communist ideology” for supporting a hotel workers’ strike in a letter to the The Phnom Penh Post in 2004, while his Facebook profile expresses his “great honor” at meeting Prime Minister Hun Sen last year.
The Long Beach community, meanwhile, is a nonprofit organization founded in 1977 to help the resettlement of Cambodian ref*ugees, its website says. It currently runs health, youth and art engagement programs.
dickison@cambodiadaily.com
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