The likely next congresswoman from the El Paso told The Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith on Thursday that she thinks President Donald Trump should be impeached.
During an hour-long conversation in Austin, Veronica Escobar, the Democratic nominee for the Texas’ District 16 seat in the U.S. House, said the president’s “rampant corruption and collusion” convinced her to run for Congress. She added she doesn’t think Trump is fit to be president. If given the chance, she would vote for his impeachment, she said, though she doesn’t think such a vote would likely succeed.
The district she’s running in leans heavily Democratic, making her an overwhelming favorite to win the seat this November. Here are some more highlights from the talk:
Why she’s running: After Trump’s time in office, Escobar said she felt ready to make the leap from local government to Congress. Escobar previously served as El Paso County judge.
“I had no interest in running for Congress until President Trump,” she said.
“I feel like there’s this point in history, where we have to take a position that either may be unpopular or may be uncomfortable, but that is important.”
She also said she wants to advocate for El Paso. From busting “the myth” of high crime in border towns to championing trade policies that support the city, Escobar said she’s running to speak on behalf of the city’s people. That would continue the legacy of U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who promoted the border “in a way like no other member of Congress had before,” she said. O’Rourke is now running for U.S. Senate.
The “sleeping giant” Latino bloc: If elected, Escobar would likely become one of the first two Texas Latinas ever sent to Congress.
But in Texas, the bloc of Latino voters is a “sleeping giant,” she said. It’s said to one day be able to sway Texas statewide elections, but so far hasn’t exerted itself in the polls.
This “sleeping giant” hasn’t yet awakened because Latinos haven’t often had a reason to be inspired to go to the polls, Escobar said. She said insults toward Latinos, like those from Trump during his campaign, aren’t enough on their own to make people cast a vote.
Escobar said she needed to be inspired and angered in order to take action. She said the national political environment is creating the “perfect combination” of those two incentives.
The “perfect combination” is also motivating women to run for office: Not only is this “perfect mix” of frustration and inspiration mobilizing some Latinos, she said it’s pushing some women to launch political careers. Escobar said the national environment is creating “a great moment in history,” where outside groups and individuals are willing to help fund and support women candidates. But this doesn’t mean it’s an easy process, she said.
“It’s difficult for women, and especially women of color, who don’t have access to networks with deep pockets,” she added.