Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY): America Has Become 'a Spectacle for the Rest of the World'

January 12, 2018

President Trump is in hot water after reportedly calling Haiti, El Salvador, and some African Countries "shitholes" in a closed-door immigration meeting with members of Congress. The President denies he used this language, but Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was in the room during the meeting and says he heard President Trump speak those words.

Congressman Adriano Espaillat represents the 13th district of New York and urges Republican leaders to condemn the president's remarks. He believes President Trump's actions are embarrassing to all Americans, no matter the party affiliation. The Congressman says he is unfortunately not surprised to hear the President would make such remarks.

"This is not a Republican problem, nor Democratic or Independent problem," the Congressman said. "This is an American issue to have the executive of our great nation speaking those terms. It's totally unacceptable."

Rep. Espaillat says immigration progress on Capitol Hill is slowed by the President's comments, despite agreement that "Dreamers" here under the Obama Era DACA policy should be protected.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

FEMALE_1: All right, well, we are now joined by a congressman that we wanna bring in here. We know President Trump in Hot Water this morning for reportedly using some questionable rhetoric during closed immigration discussions. We now wanna welcome Democratic congressman from New York, Adriana Espaillat, for reaction to these comments. Congressman thank you for joining us.

MALE_1: Thank you so much for inviting me once again to Shutter. Yes, I am very concerned about the comments, um, that came out of the White House yesterday. Our president seems, uh, to continue to engage in an intolerant rhetoric that could only lead to further division and to a lack of ability to actually build consensus whether the immigration deal or any other kind of legislation that we must pass this, this year.

FEMALE_1: So, Congressman it sounds like you believe that the president really did use this terminology even though he is trying to brush it aside and deny it?

MALE_1: Well, uh, you know my grandmother always told me, "Tell me who you walk with and I tell you who you are." And so when the president walks with the Breitbarts of the world and when he, um, says go- good things about the folks that ran over people in, in Charlottesville Virginia and when he panders to the radical right white supremacists, um, of America, he has now become them. And that's why I'm not surprised, unfortunately, and saddened to tell you that I'm not surprised to hear those comments coming from the President.

FEMALE_1: We know that of course Dick Durbin actually confirming that the president said this and that senators speaking out against him.

MALE_2: Yeah, Democrats are condemning the remarks, uh, and many others out there as well. But we haven't heard too much from Republican members. What do you think, uh, leaders of the Republican Party should do right now?

MALE_1: Uh, they should own up to the president's language. And I think that, that it will serve America well because this is not a Republican problem nor a Democratic or independent problem. This is an American issue to have the executive of our great nation speaking those terms is totally unacceptable. And fr- and frankly we have become a spectacle for the rest of the world. So, you know the Republican leadership should come up, and, and condemn the president as well. And must we must be reassured that they themselves did not feel in those same terms.

FEMALE_1: Congressman of course data has shown that the vast majority of Americans do believe that Dreamers should be able to stay here in the United States. What are the next steps on the Hill in striking an immigration deal?

MALE_1: Well, we were making some level of progress until the president made these statements that, uh, provide to throw gas on top of the fire and make it more difficult for us to be able to reach an agreement. And so Dreamers are, are here, 80%, 80% of Americans or more agree that they should stay here. They are workers, they are educators, doctors, members of our armed forces and they're folks are young people that are providing and contributing to our nation. And everybody agrees eight out of over eight out of 10 folks across the United States agree, including Trump supporters, that they should stay here. So, we have a piece of legislation that's bipartisan in scope a Dream Act legislation that I, that we should all rally behind and every congressional member has a healthy number of constituencies that support these Dreamers. Let's put that bill on the floor and let's vote it up or down. That's all we need to do. We don't need to suddenly wait amendments that would only make it more difficult because they're toxic to reach an agreement.

FEMALE_1: Are you confident Congressman that a deal can be reached? I mean it seems as if President Trump might be willing to get a deal through.

MALE_1: I am confident that we will reach an agreement. Uh, I think that no other immigration issue probably in the history of our nation has polled this well and there is a public sentiment in support of the Dreamers and I believe that we will have some level of agreement.

MALE_2: Do you think that agreement comes without the border wall getting thrown in which we know Trump is very adamant about right now, President Trump is?

MALE_1: The wall is a nonstarter. It is a symbol of division and exclusion. The last wall we had was the Berlin Wall and it came down when President, uh, Reagan, uh, told Gorbachev, "Bring down that wall." So President Trump don't build that wall. And this is a, a symbol of the past. Um, I am sure that there are other matters that Republicans want. They want to increase spending, uh, for the they want to blow up the sequestration cap for military spending. We say yes to that if they increase domestic spe- spending but first and foremost if they give us the Dream Act.

MALE_2: All right. Well, we understand we're limited on time here today. But we thank you so much for joining us. That was Democratic Congressman from New York Adriana Espaillat. Thank you so much Congressman.

MALE_1: Thank you so much Shutter one more time for having me on.

MALE_2: Absolutely.