Presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos today that Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric had risen to the level of “hate speech.”
O’Malley, the former Democratic governor of Maryland, called on the other presidential candidates to speak out against Trump, who’s made news in recent weeks for his comments about Mexican immigrants.
“I think that all of us have an obligation to speak out against that sort of hate-spewing rhetoric and language when it enters our public arena,” O’Malley said in response to a question from Facebook. “I believe that sort of speech does damage to us as a nation and I believe that all of us should push back against it.”
He said that “far too many” members of the Republican field are “appallingly silent in the face of this sort of hate speech.”
O’Malley also discussed his immigration plan, which he announced today. (“I read it. I think it’s the most inclusive and progressive so far, from all the candidates,” Ramos said.) Calling undocumented immigrants “New Americans,” O’Malley said he would take further executive action, expanding Obama’s DACA and DAPA deportation deferment programs to cover more people. Some of Obama’s policies are currently held up by lawsuits.
“I believe ultimately President Obama will prevail in his position, and I believe that we need to go even further in order to forge a new consensus for comprehensive immigration reform,” O’Malley said.
O’Malley sounded optimistic about the prospect of Congress passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill—at least after a few election cycles. “I rarely ever run into younger Americans who want to bash immigrants,” O’Malley said. “We are moving toward a more connected, compassionate, and generous place.”
One of the biggest differences between Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s immigration plan and O’Malley’s is that he calls for allowing undocumented immigrants to buy healthcare.
“What the hell kind of sense does that make?” to ban undocumented people from buying health insurance even if they can afford it, O’Malley asked. Changing the current policy “will reduce the uncompensated care burden that otherwise all of us are going to pay anyway,” he said.
O’Malley is currently behind in the Democratic primary, getting only one to two percent in the most recent polls. Clinton is far and away the leader, while O’Malley’s campaign has been overshadowed in recent weeks by the growing popularity of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
In the interview, O’Malley stressed his executive experience and said his accomplishments set him apart from his opponents. As Maryland governor, he signed into law bills legalizing same-sex marriage, giving undocumented immigrants drivers licenses, raising the minimum wage, and allowing undocumented young people to receive in-state college tuition.
“It’s not enough simply to have progressive goals and values, you have to be able to get things done,” he said.
Jorge Ramos’s full interview with Gov. O’Malley airs Tuesday, July 14 at 10p on Fusion.