On the sweltering steps of City Hall this afternoon, Congressman Charlie Rangel held what’s been the routine campaign event for him: announcing the endorsement of one or more elected officials. This time, however, Mr. Rangel made his event immigration-themed and hauled in high-profile House colleagues, including Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, who chairs multiple immigration task force caucuses, Emanuel Cleaver, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and various members from the New York delegation, as well as local Latino politicians and immigration advocates.
“It took me the longest amount of time to get here,” Mr. Gutiérrez said to begin his speech. “I woke up at 3:30 this morning with a smile on my face … because I knew that before the end of the day I would see a friend, an ally. I would see somebody that has always supported the immigrant community and has been a key figure in its advancement in the Congress of the United States.”
Additionally, Mr. Gutiérrez, who presented the signatures of over a dozen Hispanic Representatives also endorsing Mr. Rangel, connected President Barack Obama’s executive order to stop the deportation of children of illegal immigrants to the Harlem Democrat’s presence in Washington D.C.
“Last Friday, do you think last Friday’s executive action by the President of the United States somehow came about in a vacuum?” he asked. “That it just woke up one day and was like, ‘I’m just going to do this one day, because this is how I feel?’ It happened as a direct result of the building of a coalition in the House of the United States … Charlie Rangel, the congressman New York City, was there every step of the way.”
Mr. Rangel, of course, is running for reelection in a district that is 55% Latino and needs Hispanic votes in order to beat back a challenge from State Senator Adriano Espaillat.
After his colleagues finished praising him, Mr. Rangel thanked them and proceeded — unprompted — to take a not-so-subtle jab at Mr. Espaillat for allegedly circulating petitions to be on the ballot for reelection September 13th should he fail in his congressional bid next Tuesday.
“What is not moral is to tell people you are running for one job and then run for two jobs. So I’m not charging anybody of doing anything immoral, because the beneficiary says he has nothing to do with it,” he declared before enlisting Mr. Espaillat’s theoretical reelection opponent, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, to drive home the point further with a smile.
“Linares tells me … that he’s going to help see who’s conniving this conspiracy against a sitting Senator and I’m going to help him do just that.”
Watch Mr. Mr. Gutiérrez’s speech below: