July 25, 2019

Cárdenas Speech on the Rise of Hate and Bigotry in America

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) spoke on the House floor about the rise of hate and discrimination in America.

His full speech can be watched here and his remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Let me set the record straight.

The way President Trump talks about women, minorities, immigrants, and pretty much every American who does not look like him, is fueling hate in our great country.

Last week, in a series of tweets, President Trump attacked 4 Congresswomen – all of who are American and women of color.

The President doubled down on his attacks and singled out my colleague from Minnesota in a rally during which the crowd chanted “send her back.” Which he seemed to relish.

Mr. Speaker, watching that clip made me sick to my stomach and I am concerned about the direction President Trump is leading our country.

Mr. Speaker, President Trump appears to be encouraging Americans to assume patriotism by the color of one’s skin and not the content of one’s character.

This is the opposite of what American heroes like Congressman John Lewis, Dolores Huerta, Cesar Chavez and Dr. King fought and bled for.

Mr. Speaker, make no mistake, our President is stoking the flames of hate and division in our country.

Donald Trump’s America is an America where Congress does not include Native Americans, Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, or LGBTQ Americans. His vision for America is one where people like my parents and grandparents are not welcome.

What I find ironic about Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant vision for this country is it contradicts his own family’s history.

Donald Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich Trump, moved to the United States in 1885 for many reasons including to escape poverty. Today, President Trump is hurting our reputation by denying entry to asylum-seekers who are fleeing many of the hardships his very own grandfather was escaping.

In 1905, after making his fortune in the United States running a brothel, Grandfather Trump attempted to go back to Germany only to be denied entry for after failing to complete mandatory military service in his home country of Germany – something that apparently runs in the family.

After attempting to appeal the denial in a flattering letter to the prince of Germany addressing him as “the much-loved, noble, wise and righteous sovereign and sublime ruler”, Friedrich Trump’s request to return to Germany was denied a second time.

My father and mother moved to the United States in 1946 seeking a better life for their family because they heard of the promise of America – that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can succeed, and your children can have a better life.

I stand before you today – an American born citizen and a member of the United States Congress – because my parents worked hard and played by the rules.

I wasn’t handed a fortune like President Trump.

I was taught the values of keeping my word, being kind, and to work for what I earn.

Mr. Speaker, this President would like us to believe that he is more patriotic than the Congresswomen he has repeatedly attacked, not because of anything he’s done for this country, but because he believes that this country’s rights and protections only apply to his privileged self.

Honor and patriotism exist in some more than others. My brother in law, Hector, who was born in Mexico and is now a citizen, answered the call to serve our great country when Donald Trump avoided service time and time again.

While Donald Trump was dodging the draft 5 times, my brother in law, Hector, was serving the United States of America in Vietnam.

While Donald Trump was ripping off small businesses right here at home, Hector was shot while serving in Vietnam.

My Mexican-born brother in law has served this country honorably and if Donald Trump had his way, Hector would never have had that chance to serve.

Mr. Speaker, does the word ‘patriot’ come to mind when you think of a man who dodged the draft time and time again? Or a man who answered the call of duty and bled for his country?

Mr. Speaker, I tell these truths to remind us all why the United States of America is great. We are a country of brave and beautiful American citizens and immigrants from all over the world who contribute to our greatness every day.

God bless the diverse and beautiful people of our great nation.

And God bless the United States of America.