When They Tell Us Who They Are

Bigot eruptions aren’t just for Republican congressman and elite racist Steve King. It now appears that Republican congressman Jason Smith, who is part of the Republican leadership team, had an ‘incident’ on the House floor. While Democrat Tony Cardenas was speaking, Smith yelled, “Go back to Puerto Rico!” (Cardenas is from Los Angeles, CA, and his parents are from Mexico).

As you might expect, Smith issued a non-apology:

Smith’s communications director, Joey Brown, said in an email that in making his remark on the House floor, the GOP lawmaker was “speaking to all the Democrats who were down vacationing in Puerto Rico last weekend during the shutdown, not any individual.” Brown did not respond to a request for comment regarding the apology.

What’s telling about this is that Smith–and I’m sure he’s not alone among the GOP caucus–doesn’t view Puerto Rico as American. When you think about, Smith’s statement makes as much sense as “Go back to Nebraska!” Unless, of course, you don’t really think of Puerto Rico or Puerto Ricans as Americans, which they are, even if, like the District of Columbia, they lack congressional representation. When people are angry, they often tell you who they are–or at least, can be.

Aside: Il Trumpe is definitely of the era in which many New Yorkers referred to any Latino as “Puerto Rican”–and definitely not in a nice way.

Update: Smith later apologized to Cardenas, though the apology hasn’t been made public.

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2 Responses to When They Tell Us Who They Are

  1. jonolan says:

    Actually, it makes more sense than you give it credit for. The Puerto Ricans or, if you prefer, Boricuas barely consider the place America, even the ones inside the continental US. Hell! whether or not Puerto Rico will even stay as a titular part (And it is only a titular part) of the US has been a huge argument on the Island for generations.

    So, while the statement might be stupid and racist, your spin on it is equally stupid or, at least, ignorant.

    • Anothermike. says:

      Whether or not Puerto Ricans think PR is part of America has nothing to do with making sense of Jason Smith’s comment, or drawing the appropriate inferences.

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