The photographs and hugs and congratulations from family members would have to wait.
First, several dozen of the nation’s newest citizens who gathered at the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio would have to endure some harsh words about the state of the country they had just become a part of. The topic: President-elect Donald Trump.
Federal Magistrate Judge John Primomo presided over the induction ceremony on Friday. In his speech to the émigrés, he touched on the protests that have cropped up across the nation since Trump’s election.
And he told those gathered what they could do if they didn’t like the person who won on Nov. 8.
“I can assure you that whether you voted for [Trump] or you did not vote for him, if you are a citizen of the United States, he is your president and he will be your president,” the judge said, according to CBS affiliate KHOU. “And if you do not like that, you need to go to another country.”
Primomo, who did not return messages from The Washington Post on Sunday, also criticized American protesters who carried signs saying, ‘He’s not my president,’ including some in San Antonio, according to the news station.
Primomo lashed out against sports players such as Colin Kaepernick who choose to take a knee instead of standing during the national anthem.
“I detest that, because you can protest things that happen in this country; you have every right to,” Primomo said. “You don’t do that by offending national symbols like the national anthem and the flag of the United States.”
Primomo told San Antonio CBS affiliate KENS that he wanted his words to be unifying and respectful of the office of the president, not political or divisive. He said he didn’t vote for Trump.
Still, his words set off a controversy, with people calling for him to be removed from office. Critics started a petition on MoveOn to censure the judge, who was appointed in 1988.
Since Trump won, thousands of people have protested in dozens of American cities.
Among them were eight people who were arrested Saturday near Austin as White Lives Matter protesters clashed with counter-protesters, according to the Associated Press. The conflict happened after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) dedicated a monument honoring African Americans’ contributions to the state.
Protesters interviewed by The Post have cited myriad reasons for taking to the streets — fears about climate change, even concerns about the electoral system and capitalism itself.
But mostly, they don’t like Trump.
The protesters have faced their own criticism from people who said they should be working to unite the country, not divide it.
According to The Post’s Abigail Hauslohner and Mark Berman, “Trump and his surrogates have insulted the protesters ……..on social media, calling them paid professionals ‘incited by the media,’ jobless ‘crybabies,’ people with mental disorders and ‘goons.’ “