Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Julián Castro

Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary under President Barack Obama, has officially entered the 2020 contest for president. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia/cc)

Calling Out 'Crisis of Leadership' Under Trump, Ex-Obama HUD Chief Julián Castro Enters 2020 Presidential Race

Former San Antonio mayor announces campaign while vowing to recommit US to the Paris agreement and championing Medicare for All

Jessica Corbett

Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary under President Barack Obama, formally declared on Saturday that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in the 2020 contest—an announcement that's been expected since he launched an exploratory committee last month.

In a Saturday morning speech at San Antonio's Plaza Guadalupe, Castro denounced President Donald Trump's immigration policies—including his demand for billions of dollars in border wall funding that's produced the longest government shutdown in U.S. history—and his charaterization of refugees from Central and South America arriving at the Southern border as "a national security crisis."

"There is a crisis today. It's a crisis of leadership. Donald Trump has failed to uphold the values of our great nation," 44-year-old Castro told the crowd. "Yeah, we have to have border security, but there is a smart and a humane way to do it. And there is no way in hell that caging babies is a smart or a good or a right way to do it. We say no to building a wall and say yes to building community."

"As president, my first executive order will recommit the United States to the Paris climate accord."
—Julián Castro, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate

"There are serious issues that need to be addressed in our broken immigration system, but seeking asylum is a legal right. And the cruel policies of this administration are doing real harm and damage," added Castro, who is the grandson of a Mexican immigrant and would be the first Latino president.  

Laying out other key components of his campaign platform, Castro noted his support for Medicare for All and his rejection of corporate political action committee (PAC) money as well as his dedication to taking action to address the global climate crisis. 

"As president, my first executive order will recommit the United States to the Paris climate accord," Castro vowed, referencing the international deal that Trump ditched just months after taking office. Endorsing the Green New Deal, he added, "The biggest threat to our prosperity in this 21st century is climate change." 

Castro also decried police violence toward African Americans, particularly compared with how authorities handled Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who murdered nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina three years ago.

While Castro pledged to campaign on several progressive issues, following his speech on Saturday, some critics pointed to an April 2016 Politico report on a petition launched by a coalition of progressive organizations when former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was considering Castro as a running mate in the 2016 race. The groups—including Presente.org, MoveOn, DailyKos, Rootstrikers and the Working Families Party—charged that Castro's record at HUD was disqualifying.

Citing the coalition's calculations, Politico reported that "HUD under Castro has sold 98 percent of the long-delinquent mortgages it acquired through a program aimed at preventing foreclosures to Wall Street banks under Castro's watch, without anywhere near the number of needed strings attached." Some group leaders also said that as agency chief, "Castro has done too much to help private equity firms like Blackstone, instead of black and Latino communities."

Castro is among the growing list of Democrats who have announced their plans to run for president—including Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), who said in a video circulated by CNN on Friday that she will make a formal announcement next week, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), who launched an exploratory committee at the end of last year.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Bush and Warren Lead New Bill to Protect Renters Nationwide From Eviction

"This pandemic isn't over, and we have to do everything we can to protect renters from the harm and trauma of needless eviction, which upends the lives of those struggling to get back on their feet."

Jessica Corbett ·


Campaign Slams Vaccine Makers for Fueling 'Unprecedented' Human Rights Crisis

"Covid-19 vaccines must be readily available and accessible for all. It is up to governments and pharma companies to make this a reality."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sunrise Movement Targets Kyrsten Sinema for Obstructing Build Back Better Act

"Who do you work for? Do you work for the young, BIPOC, and working people who put their lives on hold to elect you? Or do you work for ExxonMobil and fossil fuel corporations?"

Brett Wilkins ·


UN Chief Tells World Leaders To Their Faces That Vaccine Apartheid Is 'An Obscenity'

Persistent inequality represents "a moral indictment of the state of our world," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said.

Julia Conley ·


Global People's Summit on Food Systems Kicks Off to Challenge 'Corporate Agenda' of UN Meeting

"The people are hungry for real change, and are willing to do whatever it takes to fight for and reclaim their land, their rights, and the future of food systems."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo