Julián Castro speaks out against Trump, Biden in fireside chat // The Observer
Former San Antonio Mayor and Obama Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro on Tuesday discussed the treatment of immigrants by former President Trump and President Biden in a fireside chat .
Castro was invited to Notre Dame as part of a joint effort between Democrats at Notre Dame College and the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS). He entertained members of both groups and the audience with a question-and-answer session in the packed auditorium of the Eck Visitor Center.
The conference was moderated by a former professor from Castro, the director of the ILS Luis Ricardo Fraga. Fraga asked Castro questions on topics ranging from his education to his future aspirations.
Responding to Fraga’s questions, Castro criticized prominent political figures and described the inspiration behind his political aspirations.
Castro explained that he was prompted to run for president in 2020 because of the political atmosphere that was cultivated under Trump.
“What motivated me to run in 2020 was that I believed I had a vision for the future where everyone could thrive,” said Castro.
One point specifically made by Castro was Title 42 – a law that allowed the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cite public health as the reason for denying asylum to immigrants at the border. The law has been in place for decades, but was recently brought back to the fore when it was invoked under the Trump administration.
Castro said it was “understandable” for the Trump administration to invoke the law given its agenda; However, he said it was “mind-boggling” for Biden to allow the use of Title 42. Castro also referred to the recent resignation of a senior State Department official, Harold Koh, who referred to the administration’s “illegal” implementation of the Trump-era playbook law in an internal memo prior to his departure.
Contrary to his scathing take on one of the most polarized topics in today’s political arena, Castro also spoke about his upbringing in San Antonio. He said he was originally motivated to be a civil servant because of his mother who raised his twin brother, Joaquin Castro, and him as a single parent.
“If there was anything that motivated my interest in politics, it was my mom,” Castro said. “My mom was a great host.”
He recounted how she ran for San Antonio city council but was ultimately not elected due to a general lack of women and people of color in power at the time.
Throughout his speech, Castro detailed much of his 2020 presidential campaign, including his condemnation of the media coverage he received as one of many Democratic candidates in the 2020 election.
He admitted that he had not received all the attention he believed he deserved during his campaign. Castro said he wanted to speak out more on the burning racial issues, but didn’t want to be categorized or stereotyped as the “immigration candidate.”
Castro acknowledged that the field of 25 candidates forced the media to make tough decisions, but said he believed there were aspects that could have been dealt with differently, namely the First Debate and the Iowa Caucus.
Currently, Castro has launched a platform called “People First Future” which raises funds to elect “a new generation of leaders”. He said he would continue to focus on this project and spend time with his wife and two young children, putting another potential political race on the back burner for the time being.
His advice to those listening in the audience and to the rising population of leaders was to “use your passion” and always aim for institutional change.