Brief: Pressley responds to Capuano’s border wall comments


Charlie Wolfson

Ayanna Pressley, a Boston city councilor who launched a campaign in late January to challenge Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) in the Democratic primary election, has begun coming at Capuano from the left. In a Tuesday release, Pressley challenged a statement Capuano made regarding President Donald J. Trump’s proposed border wall.

Capuano said Tuesday that he’d be willing to concede funding for the wall in exchange for “real immigration reform.”

“I got to be honest. Look, I don’t care about a wall one way or the other. It is a nothing issue to me,” Capuano said, according to State House News Service. “It’s a stupid idea. It’s a complete and total waste of money. But if he needs his political victory to some extent, I’m not going to give him $25 billion, but I’d give him something to play and say, ‘Oh look my wall.’”

Pressley responded saying she wouldn’t support border-wall funding under any circumstance.

“I have been and will continue to be willing to work with many diverse groups,” Pressley said in the release. “When it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, however, there can be no mistake: We must ensure that we don’t spend a penny on our president’s delusional border wall, and that at-risk communities in the district and across the country are protected from the bigoted policies coming from the Trump administration.”

Capuano, 66, was first elected to the seat in 1998. Pressley hopes to seize on an urban district ready to elect young, more diverse elected officials. The seventh district, which Capuano and Pressley will race for, is Massachusetts’s only district without a white majority. Currently, all 11 of Massachusetts’s members of Congress are white.

Pressley announced her candidacy Jan. 30, and she invoked issues relevant to her urban electorate.

While the cruel and dangerous tenor of the national political debate is new, the issues we are struggling to address — income inequality, systemic racism and lack of economic opportunity — have dogged our nation for years,” she said in a Jan. 30 release. “We have not yet delivered on our nation’s foundational promise of equality … I will be a bold voice in Congress, as an advocate for the entire district and as a champion for opportunity. This moment in time demands nothing less.”

The winner of the September primary contest for this seat is widely regarded to be assured of victory in the general election; the district is deeply liberal.