Federal Judge John Primomo presided over a San Antonio, Texas, naturalization ceremony and told prospective U.S. citizens that if they don’t like President-elect Donald Trump that they should “go to another country.” This was done just before they were about to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. The ceremony took place at the Institute of Texan Cultures Thursday evening.
The judge criticized protesters who carry signs stating “He’s not my president” in reference to Trump. He went on to say that he detests silent protests that disrespect the national anthem or other national symbols like the flag. This likely was a reference to San Francisco 49ers NFL player Colin Kaepernick and fellow athletes who choose to take a knee when the national anthem is sung or the pledge is recited, noted KENS5 News.
“I detest that, because you can protest things that happen in this country; you have every right to. You don’t do that by offending national symbols like the national anthem and the flag of the United States.”
The highlight of the evening was the supposed words of wisdom that Primomo imparted to the soon-to-be U.S. citizens, which were reported by the Huffington Post.
“I can assure you that whether you voted for him or you did not vote for him, if you are a citizen of the United States, he is your president. He will be your president and if you do not like that, you need to go to another country.”
Judge John Primomo and Right Wing Hypocrisy https://t.co/uF8cxNbXST via @drejwest
— Jim West (@drjewest) November 20, 2016
Perhaps Primomo should have been more specific and stated that Trump is the president-elect and will soon be president. Barack Obama remains president until Trump is sworn in. When the judge was asked why he lectured the new citizens, he said that it was an attempt to unify and be respectful of the office of the president — not political. He added that he didn’t vote for Trump, although no one had asked.
Primomo should be aware of the rhetoric that Trump spewed out during the campaign about Mexicans being rapists and criminals and his statements about banning Muslim immigrants from the United States. Although Trump gave a somewhat conciliatory speech after winning the election, words are powerful and his campaign promises resound. During the campaign, Trump took a hard stance against undocumented immigrants and is following through with the announcement that he will nominate Republican Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has historically opposed civil and voting rights.
Texas Judge John Primomo told a US Citizenship ceremony this week if they don’t like the future President Trump… https://t.co/DLogabMSI3
— Maria Heider (@MariaHeider) November 20, 2016
Surely, the judge must have realized that although the group of people standing before him were about to become citizens, they might have relatives and friends in this or another country who have hopes of doing the same. Those on the cusp of citizenship likely comprehend that due to fear and prejudice, many of their own families may no longer be afforded the opportunity to become U.S. citizens during a Trump presidency.
It’s ironic that a judge would endeavor to dampen the spirits of new citizens and discourage them from protesting. After all, many of the protesters who are speaking out against Trump and decrying his presidency were born here in the United States and others emigrated. They may indeed love their country but are stunned and dismayed that a man who speaks out against people of color, disrespects women, and advocates creating a Muslim registry will soon be wielding much power.
Naturalized U.S. citizens have the same right to protest, and Primomo’s opinions on this issue are irrelevant. One can only imagine how individuals who have come to this country, studied English, and in many instances know more about U.S. history and political processes than most natural-born citizens must have felt as Primomo rambled on with his personal thoughts on the state of the union at what was meant to be a celebratory occasion.
Apparently, it didn’t deter the new U.S. citizens. After taking the Oath of Allegiance, one man commented that America is bigger than whoever is in office. Hopefully, both those who were born here and recent arrivals will remember this.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]