Julian Cas­tro joins 2020 cam­paign

Yuma Sun - - OBITUARIES -

SAN AN­TO­NIO — As­sail­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for “a cri­sis of lead­er­ship,” for­mer Obama Cab­i­net mem­ber Julian Cas­tro joined the 2020 pres­i­den­tial race Sat­ur­day as the rush of Democrats mak­ing early moves to chal­lenge the in­cum­bent ac­cel­er­ates.

Cas­tro, who could end up be­ing the only Latino in what is shap­ing up to be a crowded Demo­cratic field, made im­mi­gra­tion a cen­ter­piece of his an­nounce­ment in his home­town of San An­to­nio, less than 200 miles from the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der.

Two days af­ter the pres­i­dent vis­ited the bor­der to pro­mote his promised wall, Cas­tro mocked Trump for claim­ing that the U.S. faces an “in­va­sion” from its ally to the south. “He called it a na­tional se­cu­rity cri­sis,” Cas­tro said. “Well, there is a cri­sis to­day. It’s a cri­sis of lead­er­ship. Don­ald Trump has failed to up­hold the val­ues of our great na­tion.”

Cas­tro, the 44-year-old grand­son of a Mex­i­can im­mi­grant, said he was run­ning for pres­i­dent “be­cause it’s time for new lead­er­ship, be­cause it’s time for new en­ergy and it’s time for a new com­mit­ment to make sure that the op­por­tu­ni­ties that I’ve had are avail­able to ev­ery Amer­i­can.”

He made the an­nounce­ment dur­ing the long­est gov­ern­ment shut­down in U.S. his­tory, and as the field of 2020 con­tenders widens and an­tic­i­pa­tion grows around big­ger names still con­sid­er­ing runs.

Cas­tro was San An­to­nio’s mayor for five years and U.S. hous­ing sec­re­tary in Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sec­ond term. He be­came the sec­ond Demo­crat to for­mally en­ter race, af­ter for­mer Mary­land Rep. John De­laney.

Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren of Mas­sachusetts has also started an ex­ploratory com­mit­tee for pres­i­dent, and four other Demo­cratic sen­a­tors are tak­ing steady steps to­ward run­ning. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gab­bard, the first Hindu elected to Congress, said this week she is plan­ning a bid, too.

For his part, Trump said he isn’t wor­ried about the bur­geon­ing field of Demo­cratic op­po­nents. He has al­ready an­nounced that he’s run­ning for re-elec­tion.

“I love what I see,” Trump said Sat­ur­day night when asked about the com­pe­ti­tion dur­ing a tele­phone in­ter­view with Fox News Chan­nel. He re­cited a list of what he views as his ac­com­plish­ments, in­clud­ing low un­em­ploy­ment, tax cuts and trade deals.

“I don’t know. How does some­body beat that?” the pres­i­dent said.

Asked to iden­tify the one Demo­crat he’d like to run against, Trump named for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, a two-time pres­i­den­tial can­di­date who has yet to an­nounce his in­ten­tions for 2020.

Cas­tro is get­ting an early start in try­ing to stand out. His first trip as a can­di­date comes Mon­day, to hur­ri­cane-rav­aged Puerto Rico, where an out­cry has be­gun as the White House con­sid­ers di­vert­ing dis­as­ter fund­ing to pay for the wall.

The im­passe over pay­ing for a bor­der wall that Trump made a cen­tral part of his 2016 cam­paign has led to the par­tial fed­eral clo­sure. That stale­mate, along with Trump’s hard­line im­mi­gra­tion stands, drew sharp re­bukes from Cas­tro.

AP PHOTO/ERIC GAY

FOR­MER SAN AN­TO­NIO MAYOR and Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Sec­re­tary Julian Cas­tro (front left) waves as he ar­rives with his fam­ily to an event where he an­nounced his de­ci­sion to seek the 2020 Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion Sat­ur­day in San An­to­nio.

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