Connecticut Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano – who has in the past refused to condemn a Republican State Central Committee member for openly flying the Confederate flag – was at it again at a recent forum on immigration, this time invoking not-so-subtle discriminatory statements as he tried to divide people against each other to score political points.
According to the New Haven Register (emphasis ours):
J.R. Romano, chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party, was the lightning rod as he tried to explain the perspective of those who want stricter enforcement of deportation of undocumented residents to an audience that was working to protect them.
“A friend of mine worked his tail off to get into Yale. He didn’t get in. His spot was given to someone else. To him and his family he did everything right and that is unfair,” he said.
Romano said that kind of resentment is what fueled the presidential election with Donald Trump now in the White House.
This brought a response from Douglas Stone, a Yale professor in applied physics, who said only 1 in 27 applicants might get into the Ivy League school. He said he has personally recommended students for acceptance who didn’t make it. .
“I worry that there is a certain type of scapegoating when you say someone took his spot. What could that mean? An illegal immigrant took his spot? Is that what you are saying?” Stone asked.
“The perception to that family and that family’s friends, is that is what happened,” Romano said.
Angel Fernandez Chavero, the son of Mexican immigrants, said he and his sister got into Yale, while another sibling went to the University of California at Berkeley.
“We worked super hard to accomplish our parents’ dreams,” Fernandez said, to clapping from the 100 people at the discussion at Gateway Community College.
Fernandez accused Romano of making “slippery arguments” that blame other people for personal disappointments. He said Romano and other Republicans have also engaged in rhetoric that repeats the Trump accusation against Mexicans that they are murderers.
“Children and parents are worried about deportation as President Trump bases his immigration policy on fear and discrimination, and the sentiment expressed by the head of the Connecticut Republican Party does the opposite of helping our most vulnerable residents. Instead of trying to divide our state on racial and ethnic lines, our political and elected leaders should bring our communities together around the values that we hold dear as a state. It is no longer acceptable for Connecticut’s GOP elected officials to wait and hope that no one asks questions when Chairman Romano represents extreme positions like these as official policies of the Republican Party in Connecticut. GOP elected leaders have refused to demonstrate leadership at any point by condemning or standing up to President Trump’s backwards policies that hurt Connecticut, and instead resort to the talking points and rhetoric that have been politically convenient in the past.” – Connecticut Democratic Party Executive Director Michael Mandell