As we predicted, President Trump’s State of the Union address last night was filled with ugly xenophobia, racial incitement and flat-out falsehoods. On immigration, his attempt to claim “success” is based on the cruelty, chaos, bigotry and suffering he has imposed – by executive fiat (check out our pre-buttal statement we issued yesterday for a deep dive).
Instead of responding ourselves to Trump’s anti-immigrant ugliness, today we want to focus on the powerful SOTU response from El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (D-TX), who delivered the official Democratic Spanish language response to Trump’s speech.
Below are several key excerpts from the English translation of her speech. She reminds us all of the horrifying massacre at a Walmart in El Paso and points out the influence Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric can have on those disposed to terrorism, hatred and killing. Rep. Escobar then offers us a vision of the type of America she – and we – are fighting for.
See key excerpts below with the full transcript of Rep. Escobar’s speech available here.
On August 3rd of last year, El Paso suffered from the deadliest targeted attack against Latinos in American history. A domestic terrorist confessed to driving over 10 hours to target Mexicans and immigrants. Just before he began his killing spree, he posted his views online and used hateful language like the very words used by President Trump to describe immigrants and Latinos. That day, the killer took 22 innocent lives, injured dozens, and broke all of our hearts.
…In America, our diversity makes us stronger – it is what uplifts all voices and makes us an inclusive, dynamic country.
Yet, the President clearly does not share this belief. From attacks against Dreamers, family separation, the deaths of migrant children, to the Remain in Mexico policy that sends asylum seekers into dangerous situations. These are policies none of us ever imagined would happen in America in our lifetime.
I remember seeing the Statue of Liberty from Ellis Island for the first time. I was in awe of Lady Liberty. She stands as the guardian of our ideals – that all people are created equal, that the vulnerable are to be cared for and not shunned, and that America is the shining example of goodness.
It is up to all of us – in the face of one of the most challenging times in history – to reflect the dignity, grace of Lady Liberty and the values of America.
In America, we want strong, safe, healthy communities for every individual, regardless of the color of their skin, their religion, or who they love. But we have to work for this America.
This year, 2020, we need to make sure that all our voices are heard.
The voices of justice, hope, and compassion. The voices of love and unity. The voices of patriotism and courage.
Together, we will confront these challenges, continue to protect our men and women in service and veterans, and forge a more perfect union. That is what our Founders intended.