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Congressman Luis Gutierrez

Representing the 4th District of Illinois

Gutiérrez Floor Speech: The President’s Travel Ban Damages The American Brand

February 7, 2017
Press Release
“I am not handing over my money to people or companies that take that money and invest in hate; invest in bigotry; invest in discrimination; that destroy the reputation and the image of the United States.”
Issues: 

Washington, DC – Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the House floor this morning during the Morning Hour (approximately 10:00 am ET) to speak out against the President’s ban on travel for certain Muslim-majority countries and the cessation of the worldwide refugee program.  He noted the American commercial brands – advertisers like Budweiser and 84 Lumber – who used air time during the Super Bowl to push back on the President’s attacks on immigrants and immigration.  He also noted the efforts by Coca-Cola, Starbuck’s and other large American corporations to stand up to the President’s divisive Muslim ban and related policies.

Standing before a poster with the Statue of Liberty and stills from the Budweiser and 84 Lumber Super Bowl ads, the Illinois Congressman said:

Mr. Speaker, I am not here to advertise products or tell anyone what to shop for or who to buy from.  But it is a pretty important moment in our history when America’s largest companies are going out of their way to say that this President’s anti-immigration agenda runs contrary to core values of their corporations and core values of this country.

Rep. Gutiérrez said by restricting legal immigration, blocking travel by visa-holders and shutting down refugee admissions:

The reality TV host in the White House, who is all about burnishing his own brand, has damaged the most important brand in world history – the American Brand, the Statue of Liberty and the Bald Eagle.

He concluded by saying:

Here’s my message, I am not handing over my money to people or companies that take that money and invest in hate; invest in bigotry; invest in discrimination; that destroy the reputation and the image of the United States.  I’m not putting one dollar into those companies.  I’m not going to use my money to support that. 

A video of the speech today is here: https://youtu.be/2x7hZbnomzY

The Congressman’s previous statements on the President’s executive orders and other materials can be found here: https://gutierrez.house.gov/media-center and here: https://www.facebook.com/RepGutierrez/

Rep. Gutiérrez is beginning his 13th term representing the Fourth District of Illinois.  He is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and is the Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Floor Remarks (As Prepared for Delivery)

February 7, 2017

As we all learned on Sunday, Adolphus Busch came to America from Germany to make the King of Beers.  He didn’t have a visa; he had a boat ticket.  And, of course, our country welcomed him.  Well, not exactly. 

In the Super Bowl ad that aired, Mr. Busch was told “You’re not wanted here.  Go back home.”

But then the young man eventually reaches St. Louis, meets Mr. Anheuser, and Budweiser – one of the most unmistakably American brands around the world – is born.

All of us assume that the President was watching the ad because it was, after all, the Super Bowl, and it was broadcast by the Fox Network, his favorite.

But I wonder if the message sank in.

To borrow a line from a different advertiser: Mr. Speaker, I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I think next time it will be a Bud.

Then there was the little girl and her mom who walked to America from Latin America in the 84 Lumber ad.  They didn’t have a visa either because, well, we don’t generally allow visas to people from Latin America who are seeking a better life for their families. 

And if they did qualify for a visa, that girl would most likely be a grown-up by the time the visa was processed.  We learned that Fox Television told the advertiser to edit out a border wall scene in the original version of the ad.  I guess even Fox is worried about being attacked by the Tweeter in Chief.

I’m not even sure what 84 Lumber sells, but I think I’ll go out and buy some.

Mr. Speaker, I haven’t had a cup of coffee in 30 years.  I don’t drink the stuff.  But you can bet I am going to find my way into a Starbucks sometime soon because they just announced – in the midst of all this political turmoil – that they will hire an additional 10,000 refugees.

The CEO of Starbucks said in a letter recently, “There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.”    And this is in addition to a commitment that Starbucks made to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses over the next 5 years.  With less than 2 years to go, Starbucks has hired over 8,800 vets and spouses. 

Apple and Netflix were among the companies to strongly oppose the President’s ban on travel from certain Muslim countries and the halt to the refugee program. 

I know this because I Googled it – and Google is another company that has stepped up as a corporate citizen to say that restricting legal immigration by visa-holders is bad for their bottom line, bad for a nation built by immigrants and bad for a nation that is a leader of – and dependent on – the world economy. 

And Mr. Speaker, there is no more iconic world brand – no commercial symbol more associated with America and Americans around the world than Coke.

Unlike coffee, Mr. Speaker, I enjoy a “Coke and Smile” several times a day.

The company issued a statement recently that said [quote] “Coca-Cola Co. is resolute in its commitment to diversity, fairness and inclusion, and we do not support this travel ban or any policy that is contrary to our core values and beliefs.”

Mr. Speaker, I am not here to advertise products or tell anyone what to shop for or who to buy from.  But it is a pretty important moment in our history when America’s largest companies are going out of their way to say that this President’s anti-immigration agenda runs contrary to core values of their corporations and core values of this country.

When the CEO of Uber has to resign from a corporate advisory council because the President’s policies are so toxic, it is costing his business – and the competition at Lyft is capitalizing on it – quite literally – well, then the President has probably made a mistake.

The reality TV host in the White House, who is all about burnishing his own brand, has damaged the most important brand in world history – the American Brand, the Statue of Liberty and the Bald Eagle.

Mr. Speaker, American consumers who drive our economy, the men and women who open up the businesses that feed our economy, and those who wake up every day to make the products – at this moment they are being asked to get involved and to let their choices be known.

As the Starbucks CEO said recently, "If there is any lesson to be learned over the last year, it’s that your voice and your vote matter more than ever. We are all obligated to ensure our elected officials hear from us individually and collectively.”

Here’s my message, I am not handing over my money to people or companies that take that money and invest in hate; invest in bigotry; invest in discrimination; that destroy the reputation and the image of the United States.  I’m not putting one dollar into those companies.  I’m not going to use my money to support that. 

Mr. Speaker, I am going to yield back the rest of my time because I am going to go buy whatever they have at Starbucks that is not coffee.

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