After President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ripped up and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) refused to attend, Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) gave a rebuttal in Spanish from her hometown of El Paso, Texas.
Escobar, a Mexican-American congressional freshman who became the first Latina congresswoman from Texas alongside Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) last year, touched on Democrats’ agenda and made a special appeal to Latinos.
“In America, our diversity makes us stronger — it is what uplifts all voices and makes us an inclusive, dynamic country,” she said in Spanish. “Yet, the president clearly does not share this belief.”
Calling Trump the “greatest threat” to Americans, Escobar named the various issues impacting Latinos in the country today and how the Trump administration has exacerbated their plight.
She mentioned the risk of loss of legal status for thousands of youth who participate in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, discussed the trauma of the families that were separated on the border, referenced the violence asylum seekers face awaiting their cases in Mexico due to the controversial Migrant Protection Protocols policy, talked about the deaths of children in federal immigration custody and highlighted the plight of Puerto Ricans still struggling to recover after a shoddy response to Hurricane María and more recent earthquakes.
“These are policies none of us ever imagined would happen in America in our lifetime,” she said.
Throughout her political career, Escobar has been a fierce critic of Trump. Following the mass shooting in El Paso last year, where a white supremacist killed 22 people at a local Walmart in an anti-Latino attack, she famously told the president he was not welcome in the city, which she represents.
During her speech, she discussed the El Paso shooting, calling for legislation that directly tackles gun violence. She also talked about the need for universal affordable health care and raising the federal minimum wage.
Since 2011, Democrats and Republicans have been presenting Spanish-language responses to the president’s annual State of the Union address. This year, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave the Democratic response in English.