Photo by Michael Shain
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley is angry with an anti-Queens comment from Kentucky senator Rand Paul and a “racist” remark from President Trump that “spits” on the American mosaic.
By Bill Parry

U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) railed Tuesday morning against President Donald Trump’s remarks on immigration, remarks that have been called racist and that have dominated the national news cycle for nearly a week.

During an unrelated news briefing at Vaughn College, Crowley also took aim at Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul for suggesting that Trump’s Queens upbringing led to the president’s views when he said, “It got sort of a Queens saltiness coming out, and then I think people have misinterpreted it that’s he’s a racist” on a Sunday morning national news show.

“I took umbrage with my friend Rand Paul when he made reference that (Trump’s) from Queens,” Crowley said. “I’m from Queens, and that’s not what we say from Queens, and I take extreme umbrage with that particular statement.”

After Paul’s remarks Sunday, Crowley elaborated on his disappointment.

“Queens is one of the most diverse places on earth, comprised of some of the hardest-working, most self-sacrificing people you’ll find,” Crowley said. “Donald Trump and the Republican Party are the ones to blame here, Donald Trump for being a racist and the GOP for enabling him.”

As for Trump’s supposed comment that set off the imbroglio and a torrent of formal protests from governments in two hemispheres, Crowley, a son and grandson of immigrants from Ireland who grew up in Woodside, explained why he was angry.

“Wherever you come from is very special to all of us, our history,” Crowley said. “We may look back nostalgically and say it would be great to go back to the old country, but we also recognize that those old countries had large problems, be them political, religious strife, economic strife or governmental strife. But they are still the old country — it’s the place you come from and you have tremendous pride in your ethnicity, the traditions, the religion — it all becomes part of the fabric that makes America the mosaic it is today, and that was all spat upon by the president.”

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin continues to assert that last week, Trump complained that America was taking too many immigrants from “s–thole countries,” though two Republican colleagues dispute Durbin’s recollection.

“I believe that what he said was racist and I believe that it has no place in American society,” Crowley said. “Certainly, it’s not reflective of Queens County.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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