U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) attacked Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his “xenophobic, isolationist, hateful” vision of this country during his seventh annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at Union City High School.
Emceed by Arlene Quinones Perez, the Hunterdon County Democratic Committee chairwoman, as well as the president-elect of the state Hispanic Bar Association, the event was anchored by several cultural performances.
Once he took the podium, Menendez wasted little time in going after Trump.
“We’ve heard Mexican immigrants called criminals, drug dealers and rapists. These words hurt me deeply … And I cannot, and I will not, forget them and none of us should. I, like I’m sure most of you, have heard attacks through different parts of my life,” Menendez reflected.
“But to hear them from someone who could be so close to the presidency of the United States is despicable. Get out to vote on behalf of our families and our future and the nation get out to vote for our brothers who are in the darkness and cannot get out into the light.”
Also emphasizing that Hispanics have went on to achieve high honors in music, acting, politics and so much more, Menendez said it’s time that people live in a country where they can be proud of their heritage.
“We need a president who honors the sacrifices of those like my mother and the sacrifices of all workers and soldiers who slaved and died to make America great in the first place,” he added, referencing Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make American great again.”
“And we don’t want a president who tells Americans that those people, those people, are to blame. And that the best solution is to proclaim his xenophobic, isolationist, hateful vision of America and build a great wall.”
Menendez also took aim at Trump at last year’s event, claiming the candidate’s remarks “demonize” the Latino community, specifically bashing his immigration and deportation plan.
The senior Senator’s remarks came less than two full days after a 2005 tape of Trump making sexually aggressive comments about women was released for the first time and just hours before Trump debated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for the second time.
While the tape initially had many top Republicans calling for Trump to drop out of the race, his debate performance has many analysts believing he did enough to at least solidify his voter base (h/t The New York Times).
As it turns out, world-renowned chef and entrepreneur Jose Andres – the keynote speaker of the evening who had to join the crowd via FaceTime due to unforeseen circumstances – also has issues with Trump.
Andres is embroiled in litigation with the presidential hopeful after refusing to have an eatery built at a Trump hotel in Washington after Trump called undocumented immigrants “rapists” and criminals.
Needless to say, he will not be voting for the controversial business tycoon on November 8.
A representative from the Trump campaign could not be immediately reached for comment.
Those in attendance included U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8), West New York Mayor Felix Roque, West New York Commissioners Gabriel Rodriguez, Sue Colacurcio and Margarita Guzman, Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, North Bergen Commissioner Julio Marenco, former North Bergen mayoral hopeful Larry Wainstein, among many others.