Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) travelled to New York City on Tuesday and unveiled the immigration policies that are part of his presidential campaign platform.
While there, O’Malley also weighed in on the controversial comments Republican candidate Donald Trump has made about Mexican immigrants in recent weeks. O’Malley attacked Trump’s words as “ugly,” “hate-filled,” and “racist.”
O’Malley was asked whether he believes Trump’s remarks represent the wider GOP. O’Malley responded by criticising Republican candidates for not forcefully speaking out against Trump for his claims that the Mexican government deliberately sends “bad” immigrants to the United States including drug dealers, rapists, and other criminals.
“I hope it’s not representative of the Republican Party’s views at large. It is disturbing though when their presidential candidates appear divided and some of them very silent about calling out that sort of hate speech that he was spewing,” O’Malley said, adding, “I think that members of the Republican Party should be very proud of Lincoln. And I think Lincoln would be very much ashamed at that sort of hate speech.”
After the event, Business Insider asked O’Malley what he would say if he had a chance to speak directly to Trump.
He did not mince words.
“What I would tell him — and I’ve met him before — I would tell him that I thought his language has no place in a presidential race, that it’s hurtful, that it’s ugly, that it’s hate-filled, and it’s racist,” O’Malley said of Trump, adding, “He needs to cut it out because it’s beneath us as a people to have candidates that spew this sort of stuff. That’s what I’d tell him.”
O’Malley used stronger language to describe Trump’s comments than any other candidate in the presidential field. On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner called Trump’s statements “appalling” and urged him to stop. The Wall Street Journal described this as Clinton taking a “sharper tone” with Trump than she had in the past. O’Malley is the first presidential candidate to explicitly accuse Trump of racism.
The platform unveiled by O’Malley on Tuesday was part of what he described as a “detailed plan for comprehensive immigration reform” that would go “further” than President Barack Obama has.
His proposals included “an executive order providing immediate relief from deportation with work authorization to all individuals who are covered by the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform proposal.” The Senate immigration reform bill has been blocked by House Republicans. O’Malley also called for allowing immigrants to “obtain lawful permanent resident status without first leaving our country,” expanding “access to naturalization” and healthcare for immigrants, ending “the detention of non-dangerous immigrants and their families,” and creating an independent agency within the White House to review immigration policy.
Business Insider reached out to the Trump campaign to give them an opportunity to respond to O’Malley’s comments. An aide to Trump unleashed a string of attacks on O’Malley’s record as governor of Maryland, his push for immigration reform, positioning within the Democratic primary, and O’Malley’s tendency to be photographed without a shirt.
“Martin O’Malley is a failed governor. His record is abysmal. He promoted amnesty, he promoted sanctuary cities and it’s really, really pathetic,” the Trump aide said. “He’s trying to be more liberal than Hillary, but nobody even cares because of Bernie Sanders. O’Malley’s record is one of the worst of all time. It’s no surprise that Martin O’Malley would promote amnesty and would promote importing low-skilled workers into our country. The Democrats have no realistic or rational policy. Martin O’Malley is probably one of the worst governors of all time. He can keep his shirt off as much as he wants, but nobody cares.”
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