I Stand By My Remarks, Despite Distortions By Breitbart and The Daily Stormer
Washington, DC – On Wednesday morning, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) spoke on the House floor about the controversy surrounding his remarks about President Trump at a meeting at a Chicago church on Saturday, July 22. Breitbart, the nationalist web publication associated with Trump Advisor Stephen Bannon, said that Rep. Gutiérrez said it was time to ‘eliminate’ Trump and bring him to his knees. The Washington Times, Fox News, and others ran stories based on Breitbart’s account and The Daily Stormer – which Rep. Gutiérrez described as the “the whipped cream on top of the White Nationalist/Neo-Nazi banana split” – ran with the headline “Subversive Beanman Luis Gutiérrez Calls for Trump’s Elimination.”
So Congressman Gutiérrez went back to look at what he actually said this past Saturday, because, he said, “If Fox, Breitbart and The Daily Stormer report something as true, it must be true.” But, as it turns out, he didn’t threaten violence, threaten the President’s life or incite people to violence, as he detailed in his speech this morning.
On Saturday, the Congressman said he wants to return to Congress so that “we write those articles of impeachment and take [the Trump Administration] to trial before the Senate and eliminate him as President of the United States of America.” He continued, about the President, “He cannot just fire Comey, threaten to fire Mueller, or say ‘I am the king, and I am the dictator.’”
The Congressman said that was “nothing new” because he has previously – in speeches and letters – called on Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to initiate hearings into the Trump/Russia affair, as the Senate Judiciary Committee is already doing.
After reviewing what he actually said to the gathering in Chicago on Saturday, Rep. Gutiérrez said:
What Breitbart imagined as an incitement to violence, was really a call to action for people to get involved in their democracy, which, last time I looked, is still the form of government we aspire to in this country and still non-violent.
In fact, during the speech on Saturday, Rep. Gutiérrez discussed the non-violent tactics of Mahatma Gandhi and said he took on the powerful British Empire “nonviolently with love in his heart and he brought them down to their knees.”
In his speech today he reiterated a point he made on Saturday, that a debt is owed to non-violent activists who have shown us the path towards resistance, saying:
Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.], a disciple of Gandhi, applied those strategies to the American civil rights movement to great success. And were it not for Dr. King and the other heroes who laid down their lives during the civil rights movement, this Puerto Rican would not be standing here and we wouldn’t even be talking about standing up to The Daily Stormer, Breitbart or Trump in defending immigrants and other vulnerable communities. So we owe them a great debt.
He concluded his remarks today by saying, “So I read the headlines in Breitbart and I went back to look at what I actually said. And you know what? I stand by it. And I won’t back down.”
A video of the Congressman’s speech today is here: https://youtu.be/MXIXz8Dz0aM
The text of his remarks today, as prepared for delivery, is below.
Rep. Gutiérrez is in 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.
July 26, 2017
This past Saturday, I was a guest at Lincoln United Methodist Church in Chicago where we had an emergency meeting to discuss how we would defend DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative started 5 years ago.
DACA has allowed nearly 800,000 DREAMers – immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and who grew up here –to work and live here if they meet requirements, go through a background check and renew their applications periodically.
Now, Republicans, led by the Governor of Texas, are planning to sue the President if he does not rescind DACA, and given this President and his opinion of Mexicans, Latinos and immigrants, we are not expecting the President to put up much of a fight.
So, for a few weeks now, I have been telling people to prepare for the end of DACA, maybe as soon as September.
You can watch the speech on Facebook or YouTube.
And, a lot of Trump supporters got angry about what I said Saturday.
They didn’t take the time to watch or listen to the speech.
No. They got fired up by Breitbart, the only publication I can count on to cover everything I say.
Breitbart said I was “unhinged” and said in the headline that I said it is time to ‘Eliminate’ Trump and bring him to his knees.
The Washington Times didn’t watch the speech but saw Breitbart’s fair and balanced coverage and said I threatened Trump with physical violence.
Fox News then echoed the idea that I was threatening violence and would bring our violent movement to every neighborhood in America.
So, by the time it got to the Daily Stormer – the whipped cream on top of the White Nationalist/Neo-Nazi banana split – they cited the Fox News story and ran with the headline [quote] “Subversive Beanman Luis Gutiérrez Calls for Trump’s Elimination.”
If Fox, Breitbart and the Daily Stormer report something as true, it must be true.
So, I went back to the video to see if I threatened to assassinate the President and you know what? I didn’t.
Here is what I said this past Saturday.
I said I want to come back to Congress because [quote]:
“I am going to make sure that I am there to make sure of one thing... That we write those articles of impeachment and take [the Trump Administration] to trial before the Senate and eliminate him as president of the United States of America. He cannot just fire Comey, threaten to fire Mueller, or say ‘I am the king, and I am the dictator.’"
That is the quote and clearly I am talking about the impeachment process, which I believe to be non-violent.
Bill Clinton is still alive. In fact, in short hand, I am saying we should go through regular order.
And that’s nothing new for me. I have stood on this floor and called on the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee to begin the process of hearings and witnesses, just as the Senate Judiciary Committee is doing, because that is our job.
Just a moment later in my speech, I said:
“This is a democracy and we will make democracy work. We will make sure that it works for everyone whether you are gay, straight, brown, white, documented or undocumented. We are going to make sure democracy works for you…”
Meaning the people packed in the church and, really, everyone. I said:
“and we are starting here this afternoon at this marvelous Church in Chicago. Get ready. Our movement is coming somewhere in your neighborhood!”
So what Breitbart imagined as an incitement to violence was really a call to action for people to get involved in their democracy, which, last time I looked, is still the form of government we aspire to in this country and still non-violent.
But my favorite part of the Breitbart headline and whole blood-thirsty-brown-people motif that drove the coverage from Breitbart to Fox to the Daily Stormer, is that I said I want to bring President Trump to his knees.
But what I actually said was that Gandhi, by employing the techniques and practices of non-violent resistance, brought the British Empire to its knees, which is true.
And we should learn from his example.
Indeed, Dr. King, a disciple of Gandhi, applied those strategies to the American civil rights movement to great success.
And were it not for Dr. King and the other heroes who laid down their lives during the civil rights movement, I would not be standing here and we wouldn’t even be talking about standing up to the Daily Stormer, Breitbart or Trump in defending immigrants and other vulnerable communities. So we owe the civil rights movement a great debt. And I want to follow in those footsteps.
So I read the headlines in Breitbart and I went back to look at what I actually said.
And you know what?
I stand by it. And I won’t back down.
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