NEA Representative Assembly 2016: Donald Trump and the Return of the Ethiopian Cabbie

No, that’s not the title of a new mystery novel I’m pitching to Poisoned Pen Press, it’s a couple of themes that appeared in the keynote address of NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia to the 6,880 delegates to the union’s Representative Assembly (RA). That number signifies a small increase in attendance over last year’s low of 6,724.

The speech began with a tribute to the victims of the Orlando massacre and segued into the union’s focus on institutional racism over the past year. But as this is an election year, and union’s preferred candidate will be speaking tomorrow, Eskelsen Garcia’s thoughts turned towards Donald Trump.

“I am terrified that this man has made it this far,” she said. “This unfit, unworthy man will be the Republican nominee for president of the United States of America. And I am so proud that more and more Republicans are bravely speaking up and saying they will never support Donald Trump. They will put country before party and I applaud them. They see what I see: Donald Trump is a racist, sexist, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned bully who must never get within 1000 miles of the White House.”

Eskelsen Garcia then touted the virtues of President Obama, although NEA certainly has its differences with him. Nonetheless, she said “we moved forward in achieving our mission because of a president that we helped elect.”

She also praised Hillary Clinton – briefly because those accolades will come in her introductory speech tomorrow – but some delegates, particularly the Sanders supporters, might have been taken aback to hear that Clinton “fought for women and unions and working families all her life.” Well, maybe not ALL her life.

Finally, I have to note that the Ethiopian cabbie from Denver made a return appearance in this year’s speech. If you want to know more about him, check out item #3 from the November 3, 2008 EIA Communiqué.