Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez offered a blistering critique of President Trump’s State of the Union on Tuesday, saying he disagreed with nearly everything the president said and calling Trump an “outwardly, explicitly racist American president.”
“I was born in 1953 in the U.S. when separate but equal was the law of the land,” Gutierrez said in a statement at the conclusion of the president’s speech. “I am proud of the progress the United States has made as a nation on issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and many other areas where we have advanced. I was hoping to get through my life without having to witness an outwardly, explicitly racist American president, but my luck ran out.”
The Illinois Democrat said the president failed to bring together lawmakers on both sides of the immigration debate, particularly regarding the future of Dreamers, and bemoaned that Trump and Congress will fail to reach an agreement enshrining into law legal protections for those who were brought to the United States as children.
Gutierrez took a shot at the president regarding the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and Moscow.
“[F]or Trump, the speech was clear and well-delivered,” he said. “Whoever translated it for him from Russian did a good job.”
The Democratic congressman also slammed the president for failing to mention Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria last year. The storm left the entire island without power for months, and residents struggled to find food and water.
“I was hoping for some sort of apology on Puerto Rico, but I heard nothing,” he said. “Puerto Rico is a metaphor for how this president sees all Latinos and people of color: he does not see us as his equals and he does not see us as fellow human beings. If you look at how the president has treated Puerto Rico, you have to conclude that he just doesn’t care and probably thinks of Puerto Rico as just another shithole country.”
The Democratic congressman was alluding to comments Trump made during a meeting with senators in the Oval Office earlier this month, during which the president used vulgar terms to describe Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations.
Trump delivered his first official State of the Union on Tuesday, which included a defense of his framework for an immigration deal.
The president reiterated that any proposal must include a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, as well as border security, an end to the visa lottery system, and limitations on family-based immigration that the administration says causes chain migration.