MALDEF

MALDEF Condemns Rush Limbaugh's Remarks on Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa

John Trasviña, President and General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) issued a letter on May 8 to conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh condemning his description of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as “the shoe shine guy.” On May 5, Limbaugh appeared on FOX News to discuss Sen. Hillary Clinton’s joke that he had a crush on her. Limbaugh responded with a story about how former President Bill Clinton allegedly “hit on” Limbaugh’s date and introduced Mayor Villaraigosa to Limbaugh in order to distract him.

In his letter to Limbaugh, MALDEF President and General Counsel John Trasviña stated, “The fact that your stated first impression of [Mayor Villaraigosa] was to consider him “a shoeshine boy” instead of the elected mayor of America’s second largest city speaks volumes about your view of America and the role or status of people who do not fit your preconceived notion of what an elected official should be.” He added, “Perhaps as our community continues to increase its presence as the teachers, lawyers, professionals and civic leaders that our country depends on, you will finally move beyond your outdated mindset which attempts to exclude an entire American population from being the leaders of this nation.”

Read the full letter below:
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May 8, 2008
Mr. Rush Limbaugh
The Rush Limbaugh Show
1270 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

Dear Mr. Limbaugh:

One of our greatest freedoms in the United States is to be free to disagree. I do not write to you today about your past mischaracterizations of equal employment opportunity, immigration or other issues. Those erroneous remarks merit an entirely separate platform and debate. What I must immediately address and condemn here is your recent and utterly disrespectful remark about Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The fact that your stated first impression of him was to consider him “a shoeshine boy” instead of the elected mayor of America’s second largest city speaks volumes about your view of America and the role or status of people who do not fit your preconceived notion of what an elected official should be. Rest assured, Mr. Limbaugh, that you will have ample opportunity to learn as the nation’s Latino population surpasses 50 million and more and more immigrants become naturalized citizens and voters. You may not yet understand it but the remaining presidential candidates are all seeking Latino votes and know that states with large Latino citizen populations (e.g., Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado) are all swing states this November. And candidates who fit the deportation-only model like Reps. Tancredo and Hunter are not to be found in the race.

Latinos and immigrants generously contribute to the wealth of America, just like immigrants before them, by working in the nation’s most difficult and dangerous jobs. Not to mention that we have more than our fair share of soldiers fighting and dying abroad. Perhaps as our community continues to increase its presence as the teachers, lawyers, professionals and civic leaders that our country depends on, you will finally move beyond your outdated mindset which attempts to exclude an entire American population from being the leaders of this nation.
Sincerely,

John Trasviña
President and General Counsel
Mexican American Legal Defense
and Educational Fund (MALDEF)

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund