POLITICS
02/13/2017 12:44 pm ET

Congressman Who Called Trump 'Racist' Stands By His Assessment

“I don’t know how you can come to any other conclusion,” Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) said.

A congressman who previously called Donald Trump “a racist” and told him to “take your border wall and shove it up your ass” said Monday that Trump’s actions as president have proven his point.

“When you consider all the comments he has made, when you take a look at his enforcement priorities, I don’t know how you can come to any other conclusion,” Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) said in an interview with The Texas Tribune.

Last year, Vela wrote an open letter to the then-GOP presidential candidate, excoriating his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass,” Vela wrote in June.

“While you would build more and bigger walls on the U.S.-Mexico border, I would tear the existing wall to pieces,” he continued. “Why any modern-thinking person would ever believe that building a wall along the border of a neighboring country, which is both our ally and one of our largest trading partners, is frankly astounding and asinine.”

On Monday, Vela said he stood by his strong words.

“I am a nice guy, but I really don’t think I could have said it another way,” he said. “I meant it, and I mean it today.”

The congressman argued that Trump’s racist comments during his campaign were an accurate predictor of his approach to governing. He cited Trump’s executive orders to jump-start the construction of the border wall and increase the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

“When you consider Donald Trump’s approach to Mexico, from his overgeneralized comments about rapists and criminals coming in, to the insults about the judge with jurisdiction on the Trump University case... it’s all being borne out with these executive orders that have been coming out of the White House over the past couple of weeks,” Vela said.

Vela also noted that Trump has taken a more extreme stance on immigration compared to previous Republican presidents, particularly President George W. Bush, and that he has no Hispanic members in his Cabinet.

In addition to the high cost and other logistical difficulties, the border wall would be “a horrible symbol” that ignores the strong and multifaceted ties between the U.S. and Mexico, Vela said.

“Trump’s promise of what effectively would be a 1300-mile border wall, because we already have 635 miles of fencing, will never happen,” he said. “Why on earth would you ever consider building a wall between Texas and Mexico, when you have that significant of an economic relationship, not to mention the social and cultural relationship that we have with our neighbors? It just doesn’t make sense.” 

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