Latino groups are demanding the removal of Trenton Councilwoman Robin Vaughn after asking the city’s Latino business administrator if he could speak English.
The groups claim she has made a series of xenophobic and otherwise controversial comments. They want her censured or removed from office. Vaughn made the latest remarks in a public meeting, telling Latino merchants that “You have to follow the rules. We’re not in a banana republic.” In another exchange, she asked Trenton Business Administrator Adam Cruz, “Do you not understand English?”
Cruz responded to the latter comment with, “Just for the record, I speak three languages: English, Italian and Spanish,” to which Vaughn responded, “You’re not that smart. You’re not that bright.”
According to trentonian.com, members of the Latino Merchants Association gathered outside City Hall to ask for her resignation. They were joined by Councilman Joseph Harrison, whom Vaughn called an “idiot” during last week’s council meeting. All said they are tired of Vaughn’s history of disparaging comments.
The group wants Vaughn censured or removed from office, adding she has repeatedly used the term “banana republic” to refer to Latino businesses in Trenton.
Also, there has been a reaction from the New Jersey Governor. “These xenophobic comments are an affront to our core values of diversity and inclusion, and I condemn them in the strongest possible terms,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.
You can read: New Jersey will have a dinosaur fossil park and museum
Mayor Reed Gusciora defended Cruz as “one of the most accomplished and professional members of city government. He doesn’t deserve to be treated like that. No one does.”
No place for discrimination
“Latinos are an important and growing part of the very fabric that makes Trenton special. Yet time after time, Councilwoman Vaughn casually insults individuals on the basis of race, sexual orientation, language, and religious affiliation,” The Mayor said.
Gusciora added that there is no place in Trenton for discrimination. “This is a city grappling with many critical challenges, all of which require Trenton’s community, one of the most diverse in the state, to work together for the common good. This is no place for that level of discrimination. Not now, not ever.”
Vaughn on her Facebook page asked residents not to be distracted and said she is “anti-corruption, anti-status quo, unbossed and unbought.”