U.S. Rep Joaquin Castro held an unusual Town Hall meeting at his district office in the Federal Building downtown last night. It was open only to people who disagree with him, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
As you might expect, a lot of people took Castro up on his invitation to disagree. But Castro said it is time that Americans, if we truly want to solve the problems facing the country, need to stop talking 'at' each other and start talking 'with' each other.
"There is a freedom of expression," he said. "And whether you disagree with that on the left or on the right, people are free to express themselves, and I fundamentally agree with that."
It turned out to be a pretty contentious hour, with Castro getting grief on everything from the Russia investigation to health care to the Democratic Party's alleged suppression of support for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 nomination process so it could hand the nomination to Hillary Clinton, who both Castro and his brother, former Mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro supported.
But much of the disagreement was over Castro's support for the 'Dreamers,' and his unwillingness to build a border wall.
"Build the wall first!" one woman yelled.
Castro said President Trump did not make it easy for Democrats to make the 'tough decision' to buck party leaders and vote for immigration reform when he vowed to veto any bill Congress passed.
At one point, Castro stopped the yelling by saying 'I got it, you all disagree with me, I got it.'
One man took issue with Castro identifying himself as a 'Mexican American' and a 'minority.'
"Years ago we were all Americans," he said. "It seems like your party divides us into 'black,' 'white,' 'brown,' 'Asian,' 'transgender,' he said. "What happened to everybody just being American?"
Castro said he is proud of his ancestry and the accomplishments of his Mexican-immigrant grandparents, just as everybody should be proud of their family heritage.
A Castro spokeswoman says the unusual Town Hall was an attempt to cut through the 'political polarization' that now affects the country and hinders attempts to get meaningful legislation accomplished.
Castro didn't say if the anti-Town Hall will be repeated.
PHOTO; JOAQUIN CASTRO VIA FACEBOOK