Julian Castro Makes His 2020 Case: Medicare For All


Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro made his case for president in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Thursday. Castro said the "experiences" he has had in life as well as being a mayor and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development qualifies him for the presidency.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: This may sound crazy or abrupt or impossible, but it is the truth. We're a little more than a year away from the Iowa caucuses, which means campaign season is upon us. Potential Democratic candidates are already scrambling to hire top flight talent before it's picked clean, hoping to make an impression before an expected explosion of campaign announcements in January.

There could be as many as two dozen Democrats vying for the White House, maybe more. While many are playing it coy right now saying they're thinking about it or considering a candidacy, others, like Texas Democrat and former Obama housing chief Julian Castro had actually taken concrete steps towards a run. He just announced a presidential exploratory committee and he joins me here

So, you filed the paperwork.

JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER HUD SECRETARY: I did. In fact, today, we officially -- I had to file it by mail, snail mail, because I was trying to put the accent over the a in my name, and apparently, if the FEC is watching, you cannot have any accented characters in there, and even prepared for my name going in the form. That's how bad it is, yes So I had to file snail mail.

HAYES: All right, what -- why should Julian Castro be president of the United States?

CASTRO: Because I have a strong vision for the future of the country, because I've shown that I can get things done and create opportunity for folks. I have done that at the local level and the national level, and because I've lived a life where I've seen the experiences of people in this country who both are struggling, who are pursuing their American dream in earnest, and also, I've served at the highest levels of government and had the opportunity to do well in my own life.

And I feel like I have both policy experience, a vision for the country, and also in life experience something that resonates with people across the board.

HAYES: How important is experience? How much experience should a person have to run for president or to be president?

CASTRO: Well, I think somebody should have relevant experience of getting things done, right? Oftentimes historically that's been either in government or the military. The argument that Donald Trump made in 2016 was that his experience in business would somehow translate into success at the Oval Office. And you know what? Maybe for some people it would, but it clearly has not for him.

HAYES: You just mentioned the military. I think about this all the time when I think about someone who is going to run for president. If you win, if you're going to be president of the United States, it would mean ordering people into battle. You would make decisions that result in people dying, whether American service members who die under your command as commander-in-chief, or people that are being fought by the U.S. military, oftentimes civilians through accidents.

Do you think about that? Do you think about violence and death as things that you will be intimately part of would you win this job?

CASTRO: Well, of course you think about that. You know, you read about presidential decision making or watch incidents, they talk a lot about the hardest part of the job being those kinds of decisions, of sending young men and women into battle. And so of course you think about that.

I think that, you know, the ability to make those decisions depends on different things. But at base, it's a healthy respect for those types of decisions for the people that you're sending into harm's way. And I think that in the last 15 years, we have seen rather spectacular examples of individuals that I think didn't have enough of a respect for that.

HAYES: What is the worst thing that Donald Trump has done?

CASTRO: There are a lot of them. I think the worst thing that he has done is he has completely debased our sense of the office, And he's created -- he is marching towards the creation of this alternative reality, talk about alternative facts. And in doing that, he has polarized this country, divided
the country.

HAYES: Wasn't the polarization there beforehand?

CASTRO: Oh, it was. But I think it's been amped up significantly since he became president. And that has a human impact. There are people who have brown skin or black skin or who wear a turban or a yarmulke who don't feel safe walking down their own neighborhood because he has unleashed this bigotry and hatred in our country in a way that we haven't seen in a long time and I think that's because of how he has conducted himself.

HAYES: Final quick question. You become president. You're sworn in. You have a Democratic House and Senate. The first bill, the first big domestic policy legislation you move is?

CASTRO: Health care.

HAYES: Health care. Specifically?

CASTRO: I believe that we need Medicare for all. I believe that we need to recoup the millions of people that have already lost.

HAYES: So, Medicare for all first thing out of the box is in the Castro administration?

CASTRO: I believe we need to recoup the millions of people who have already lost health insurance, and we need to do more than that and ensure that everybody has health insurance.

HAYES: That's a good, clear, direct answer. I want to get everyone running on this very question, because I think that's going to be very important should that come about.

Julian Castro, thanks for making time come back.

CASTRO: Thanks for having me.

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