Democratic congressman Luis Gutierrez walked out of Donald Trump's first State of the Union address when lawmakers began chanting "USA, USA."
We have a bipartisan standing ovation — and a lot of "USA!" chants. https://t.co/00Kmhu7ges— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) January 31, 2018
See Gutierrez leave the chamber in the video above.
The representative from Illinois, who announced in November that he will be retiring after this term, was caught ducking out of the chamber at the end of the president's speech while others around him applauded.
He then issued a scathing response to the speech in which he called Trump an “outwardly, explicitly racist American president.” He sarcastically added, "Whoever translated [the speech] for him from Russian did a good job."
In his scathing statement, Gutierrez said he was "hopeful," but admitted he doesn't see Congress and the President coming to an agreement that prevents the deportation of dreamers. Earlier in the evening, Trump was booed after a controversial statement about immigration.
“I was born in 1953 in the U.S. when separate but equal was the law of the land,” Gutierrez said. “I am proud of the progress the United States has made as a nation on issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and many other areas where we have advanced. I was hoping to get through my life without having to witness an outwardly, explicitly racist American president, but my luck ran out."
He also slammed Trump for failing to mention the plight of Puerto Ricans after Hurricane Maria.
A spokesperson for Gutierrez, 64, however, insisted that his walk out was not a political gesture, and was based more on scheduling.
"He was trying to make it to Univision," his spokesman said. "He watched the last 90 seconds on TV. It was not a protest or anything. He was just trying to get ahead of the crowd."
Gutierrez left the address toward the end of Trump's speech when Trump called it a "living monument ... to the American people."
“Monuments to Washington and Jefferson — to Lincoln and King. Memorials to the heroes of Yorktown and Saratoga — to young Americans who shed their blood on the shores of Normandy, and the fields beyond,” Trump said. “And others, who went down in the waters of the Pacific and the skies over Asia. And freedom stands tall over one more monument: this one. This Capitol. This living monument to the American people. A people whose heroes live not only in the past, but all around us — defending hope, pride, and the American way.”
Reactions to the chant itself were a bit mixed. Some viewers took the patriotic comment at face value, but others thought it leaned too hard into nationalism.
As for Gutierrez's walkout itself, many on social media criticized the retiring congressman, calling him "triggered."
Luis Gutierrez walked out during the USA chant. He has no business being in Congress.— Alexis In NH (@AlexisinNH) January 31, 2018
Was that Congressman Luis Gutierrez who walked out? Too much patriotism?— Junkyard Dogs (@baileyjer) January 31, 2018
Still, some thought he achieved more by leaving the speech early than by sitting through it.
Props to Luis Gutierrez for staging a walkout at least. Direct action gets the goods.— Adam⚫️? (@leftkish) January 31, 2018