This week, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, visited New Mexico. Monday he met with Governor Susana Martinez and Tuesday he met with the Chief and leaders of the San Felipe Pueblo, along with other government U.S. leaders, including Congressman Steve Pearce.
New Mexico Democratic operative and spokesman for governor candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham (MLG), James Hallinan, took Congressman Steve Pearce to task for attending the meeting, claiming Pearce was only campaigning for his gubernatorial bid.
MLG’s spox James Hallinan jumped to call Pearce’s attendance at the meeting “campaign-style” and a “campaign” event, even though nothing about the event was associated with campaigning. Ironically, Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham also had the opportunity to attend the meeting to discuss housing with tribal leaders, but instead she sent a low-level congressional staffer.
A number of Twitter users were offended by Hallinan equating the needs of Native Americans to campaigning and called out Hallinan for his racist approach to the visit and called out his boss Michelle Lujan Grisham’s for her obvious absence, “As a Native American I find it offensive that James Hallinan implies Secretary Carson is visiting New Mexico to campaign or fundraise,” said Rebekah Stevens, Chairman of the New Mexico Young Republicans, “It downplays the importance of visiting our Tribes. It’s racist to treat my brothers and sisters so trivially. James ought to apologize to our Native people who need federal help.”
“We couldn’t agree more,” tweeted the New Mexico College Republicans, “The NMCR is proud to be chaired by a Navajo woman…The fact that the HUD Secretary was touring native lands is crucial. These tweets from James Hallinan prove Michelle Lujan Grisham’s spokesman is unhinged and out of line.”
“They promoted the event as a visit from the HUD secretary to speak to [Native] people whose voices are rarely heard in D.C.,” said Wendy I. in response to Hallinan. “Too bad you’re such a partisan hack or you’d actually admit this is a good thing.”
Hallinan refused to respond contritely or apologize for his careless, racist remarks, instead implying he can’t be racist, “You’re calling a gay, Hispanic guy racist? Please” [sic]
Wake up, please!
Hallinan seems to forget, that while this is often not the case, you can be Hispanic and racist against Native Americans. Hundreds of years ago, New Mexican Native Americans were oppressed and killed by conquistadors, ancestors of many New Mexico Hispanics. Other Natives were enslaved in the name of religion by priests and religious leaders who came to colonize the Americas.
Hate to break it to you, James– racism is racism!
Shame on Michelle Lujan Grisham for slighting Native Americans and allowing her spox to say they don’t care about our native population.