Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) walked out of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday while lawmakers were chanting “USA!” to rush to his scheduled Univision interview.
Cameras caught Gutierrez storming out near the end of Trump’s address, and a Gutierrez spokesman reportedly said he was trying to make his Spanish-language interview and not protesting, according to the Daily Mail.
“He was trying to make it to Univision,” the Gutierrez spokesman said. “He watched the last 90 seconds on TV. It was not a protest or anything. He was just trying to get ahead of the crowd.”
Lawmakers were chanting “USA!” after Trump spoke about “Americans who shed their blood on the shores of Normandy, and the fields beyond. And others, who went down in the waters of the Pacific and the skies over Asia.”
“And freedom stands tall over one more monument: this one. This Capitol. This living monument to the American people,” Trump said before Gutierrez walked out.
After being interviewed by the Spanish-language station, Gutierrez promptly denounced Trump as an “explicitly racist” president who does not see “Latinos and people of color” as “fellow human beings.”
Gutierrez said he was “hoping for some sort of apology on Puerto” but was disappointed that he did not hear anything. He added that “Puerto Rico is a metaphor for how this President sees all Latinos and people of color: he does not see us as his equals and he does not see us as fellow human beings.”
“I was born in 1953 in the U.S. when separate but equal was the law of the land. I am proud of the progress the United States has made as a nation on issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and many other areas where we have advanced,” Gutierrez continued in his statement. “I was hoping to get through my life without having to witness an outwardly, explicitly racist American President, but my luck ran out.”
But even Gutierrez had to concede that Trump gave a good performance.
“Even though I disagreed with almost everything he said, for Trump, the speech was clear and well-delivered,” he said. “Whoever translated it for him from Russian did a good job.”