Julian Castro Announces 2020 Presidential Run, Says Trump “Failed The People Of Puerto Rico”
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro announced on Saturday he would seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.
The 44-year-old Castro, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama from 2015 to 2017, was the youngest member of that cabinet. His identical twin brother Joaquin Castro is a Democratic congressman from Texas who is also the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Julian Castro made his 2020 presidential bid announcement in San Antonio, but then chose Puerto Rico as his first visit following the reveal. While visiting the territory — which was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria in late 2017 — Castro made a bold statement about President Donald Trump and his administration’s response to the natural disaster.
“Unfortunately, as all of us witnessed, the Trump administration failed the people of Puerto Rico when Hurricane Maria hit,” Castro said at the annual Latino Victory Fund summit in San Juan on Monday. “I chose as my first visit after [my] announcement to come to Puerto Rico, because I want all the people of Puerto Rico to know that you count, that we respect you,” he added.
Castro also blasted the Trump administration for discussing the possibility of using funds allocated for Puerto Rico to invest in the southern border wall, an issue that has caused a stalemate between the president and Democratic lawmakers and over which the federal government remains shut down after more than three weeks.
According to The Hill, Congress has appropriated more than $18 billion for disaster relief managed by Housing and Urban Development. However, only around $2.6 billion has reached the territory, where hundreds of home were destroyed and nearly 3,000 people died. Despite the damage caused by Hurricane Maria and the subsequent mental health crisis — including rising suicide rates — on the island, Trump called his response to the disaster “an unsung success” and drew severe criticism from Puerto Rican government officials for this remark.
Castro, whose mother was a Mexican-American activist, also reportedly met with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz and others on Monday to discuss several redevelopment projects.