Today, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, the first Latino elected to that position in more than 130 years, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, and Sacramento Democratic Party Chair Kerri Asbury, a special education teacher, hosted a press call to hold Donald Trump accountable ahead of his latest visit to California.
Last night, court documents were released detailing how Trump’s scam university preyed on low-income students, including veterans and seniors. This is on the heels of Trump misleading the public about his support for veterans groups, and last week’s revelations that Trump rooted for a housing crash so that he could make money off of families losing their homes.
Please find excerpts below from the call as prepared for delivery:
Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon
Every single day, Trump demonstrates that he is a con artist who is only out for himself, and it is our duty as Democrats to hold him accountable.
Simply put, we cannot ever give a man this dangerous and this divisive a free pass as he makes his way through our great state – a state that is progressive, that is tolerant, and that will absolutely not vote for his hateful candidacy in November. The truth is that on issue after issue, Trump is completely – and I mean completely — out-of-touch with Californians.
Let’s start off by quickly discussing Prop 187. As many of you on this call know, Prop 187 was an anti-immigrant ballot initiative that Republican Governor Pete Wilson pushed hard for in 1994. I took a stand against it back then and organized the largest civil rights march in California history not just because it was terrible policy, but because it was fundamentally wrong: our country has been and will always be a nation of immigrants. End of story. And that’s precisely why ever since Prop 187, our state has turned from red to blue. Now, you would think that Republicans would’ve learned their lesson from all this, but they clearly haven’t. Instead, they’ve nominated someone who is incredibly anti-immigrant – I mean, I don’t even know where to start! Donald Trump wants to deport all undocumented immigrants; he wants to get rid of President Obama’s executive orders on immigration, DAPA and DACA; he has called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “drug dealers”; and he has even proposed banning an entire religion from entering our country. Over the weekend, the LA Times published an article titled “California Latino Republicans see Prop. 187’s ghost in Trump’s campaign” and suffice it to say that we should expect more headlines like that going forward.
But Trump is also terrible on another issue that matters to so many Californians: the minimum wage. In April of this year, I was proud to stand right next to Governor Brown as he signed Senate Bill 3, which will increase the state minimum wage to $15 per hour. The fact of the matter is that no one who works full time should have to live in poverty — especially in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest nation on earth – and we in California agreed on that principle and took action. While we already know that Republicans across our country are opposed to raising the minimum wage, believe it or not, Trump is even worse on this issue. He thinks that wages are “too high” and doesn’t think that a federal minimum wage should exist to begin with. There’s no doubt about it: this is a man who is incredibly out-of-touch with hardworking Americans and who we can’t afford to have in the White House.
Let’s also talk about climate change. Thanks to Democratic leadership, California has already taken the lead on this urgent issue. Last year, for instance, Governor Brown signed SB 530, a landmark piece of legislation that expands renewable energy and increases energy efficiency. As I mentioned at the signing ceremony then, “the new standards established in Senate Bill 350 aren’t just numbers on a timeline; they’re real jobs for real people and healthier lives for our children.” Trump, however, thinks that climate change is, and I quote, a “hoax.” In fact, when asked on CNN whether climate change is a pressing problem, he answered and I quote “No I’m not a believer in climate change.” And then last week he said that there’s no drought in California. Who are you going to believe, California? Donald Trump or your lying eyes? Californians are struggling through one of the worst droughts in our history, and to deny that fact just insults our intelligence and shows why Trump is unfit to be president.
Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how disappointed I am with Trump and his lying about donating money to veterans. It’s flat-out wrong, and I’m glad that he got called out yesterday for his comments when it came to how and when he finally gave money to veterans groups. Our nation’s veterans should not be used as political pawns. They deserve much, much better than that. They deserve our gratitude and respect for the enormous sacrifices they’ve made.
Sacramento Democratic Party Chair Kerri Asbury
First off, let’s talk about Trump University. Everything that has been coming to light about it has been very, very troubling to me. I’m the Sacramento County Chair, but in my day job, I’m a special education teacher. As an educator, our job is to help our students learn, not to scam them out of their money.
Trump, on the other hand, sees students as potential victims to be exploited. As the last night’s court documents revealed, Trump’s now-defunct business was nothing but a scam – a scam that preyed on low-income students, including veterans and seniors. Trump University recruiters were told to target single parents with hungry kids, and were encouraged to frighten and intimidate prospective students. Recruiters were told to push a $35,000 “Trump Gold Elite Package” of seminars. Trump University encouraged students to max out credit cards to pay for Trump University tuition. A former employee put it best when he called Trump University a “fraudulent scheme” that “preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.” Time and again, Trump has shown us that he’s a fraud who is only in it for himself. We can’t have a person like that as our president.
As the Vice President of Programs for Women Democrats of Sacramento County, I’d also like to briefly talk about how dangerous Trump would be for women. He’s accused a female reporter of having “blood coming out of her wherever” and has said that women should be punished for having an abortion. He also thinks that ensuring equal pay for women should just be left up to “the marketplace.” He wants to scale back family leave policies and said that pregnancy was “an inconvenience for a business.” In short, his positions on women’s issues are enough to make the cast of Mad Men blush.
And so, to wrap things up, I’d like to highlight that there’s a reason why Democrats have been making enormous gains when it comes to voter registration in California – even in some of the most unexpected of places, like Orange County: because unlike Donald Trump, both our candidates have shown that they have the temperament and judgement to be president. It’s that simple.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
I really want to emphasize that while Donald Trump can carefully orchestrate campaign rallies here in the city of San Jose, outside of those orchestrated events I would not expect Donald Trump to earn a warm reception in the city of San Jose, and that’s for one simple reason: Donald Trump doesn’t get California. California represents America’s future.
Here in the city of San Jose, 40% of our adults were born in a foreign county- that is the secret sauce of our success because half of the venture funded start-ups in the valley were founded by an immigrant. And we’ve got somebody purporting to want to represent this county, who believes that he can build walls, and bar Muslims from entering this county. His approach is certainly immoral but it’s also horrible for our economy, and it’s horrible for our future.
I think Senator Kevin De Leon spoke well about the remarkable declaration of Donald Trump in Fresno, that there is no drought. Our local newspaper here in San Jose used one word to describe that declaration- it was stupid.
We’ve got a leadership right now in Sacramento and in cities throughout this state pushing for a $15 minimum wage. We’ve got a presidential candidate Donald Trump who doesn’t get it, who doesn’t understand the needs for working families to be able to thrive and survive with work.