Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) vowed on Tuesday that he will travel from coast to coast in the years ahead after leaving Congress, “creating a new fierce framework for immigrant rights across this country” ahead of “2020 and the presidential election.”
Gutierrez announced he will not seek re-election to Congress and endorsed Chuy Garcia to take his place.
He ruled out running for governor of Puerto Rico or mayor of Chicago but “absolutely” did not rule out running again for future office.
Should Gutierrez decide to run for president against President Donald Trump, his over-the-top and vicious anti-Trump rhetoric, left-wing authenticity, and propensity to say outrageous statements without a filter would guarantee him plenty of press and headlines and consideration from the “Resistance wing.”
But on Tuesday, the bombastic congressman also reminded Democrats that he opposed NAFTA as a freshman congressman in 1993, even taking on the Daley machine in Chicago. Hitting all of the issues that matter to left-wing primary voters, Gutierrez said he opposed the Defense of Marriage Act and blasted former President Bill Clinton and the “majority of Democrats” for supporting it and turning their backs on gays and lesbians. He said he was happy he voted against the Iraq War and emphasized that he backed single-payer health care in 2012 before it was cool to do so on the progressive left. Gutierrez said he was the only Latino congressman to back Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy and said he then held Obama’s feet to the fire when Obama did not deliver on comprehensive amnesty legislation. Gutierrez also spoke at length about how he and Garcia backed former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.
Gutierrez’s signature issue has been amnesty for illegal immigrants, and he declared that he will talk to leaders in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi about building “the infrastructure for the 2020 election.” He added that he would also be visiting places like Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Ohio.
Gutierrez, who reportedly “owns an oceanfront home on Puerto Rico’s north coast” denied he will run for governor of Puerto Rico after a source close to him told Fox32 in Chicago that he may be eyeing Puerto Rico’s governorship.
In August, Gutierrez sounded like a candidate for elected office in Puerto Rico when he spoke to David Axelrod on his “Axe Files” podcast about “my island, my people.”
“It’s an important place for me,” Gutierrez told Axelrod, who also first made a name for himself in politics while working for Harold Washington. “It’s going to be a place when I look at the last chapter of my life … I want to make sure there is a chapter that allows me to return and do good things … [in Puerto Rico].
In recent months, Gutierrez has blasted Trump’s response to Hurricane Maria, accusing him of neglecting Puerto Rico and even suggesting that Trump should be impeached for not doing enough to help Puerto Ricans. He criticized Trump for giving Puerto Rico a $5 billion loan instead of a grant.
Gutierrez told left-wing host Amy Goodman that Trump wants to “make Puerto Rico not part of the United States, but owned by the United States.”
“You leave Puerto Rico, and that’s just another reason we should impeach you as president of the United States,” said Gutierrez, who co-sponsored the articles of impeachment against Trump that House Democrats recently introduced.
Gutierrez on Tuesday spoke at length about rebuilding Puerto Rico, which he said is “in a lot of pain” because so many “have turned their backs on her” after Hurricane Maria. And though he said he would be spending a lot of time in Puerto Rico to help rebuild the island, his primary focus seemed to be on 2020.
He spoke about needing a “new vehicle to prepare ourselves for 2020” and said, “I want to take my energies and my ability to somewhere where I know I want to place them.”
“I am going to leave Congress, but I’m not retiring. I’m not giving up on the fight for equality for immigrants, for Latinos, for women, for fighting for the LGBT community, the environment, and the whole range of progressive issues I’ve been fighting for for 25 years,” he said. “I’m excited about the fight that’s coming forward.”