Sunday, April 21, 2024

Whitman Confronted with Immigration Controversy during History-making Debate

On Saturday, Univision broadcasted the first California gubernatorial debate to ever be held in Spanish, as Republican Meg Whitman tried to fence off attacks over her hiring, and subsequent firing, of an undocumented housekeeper.

The second gubernatorial debate between Whitman and her Democratic opponent, Jerry Brown, took place in Fresno State’s Satellite Student Union and was co-sponsored by the Spanish-language Univision television network.

Long-time anchor, Maria Elena Salinas, acted as the moderator and noted the historical significance of the debate, but the controversy over Whitman’s former housekeeper overshadowed anything else during the course of the night.

Last week, La Plaza reported that Nicky Diaz Santillan, an undocumented immigrant, worked in Whitman’s household for nine years before being fired by the former eBay CEO.  Accompanied by famed attorney, Gloria Allred, Santillan accused Whitman of abuse during those nine years and alleged that she was fired over political reasons at a news conference.

Whitman argued that firing Santillan was the “hardest” decision of her life and accused Brown of “stirring up” the issue.

“You put it out there, and you should be ashamed for sacrificing Nicky Diaz on the altar of your political ambitions,” Whitman said.

“You have blamed her, blamed me, blamed the left, blamed the unions,” Brown shot back. “But you don’t take accountability.”

Brown never let up on Whitman over the immigration issue during the debate, forcing her to play the defense much of the time.

“I don’t think she handled the housekeeper issues (well) enough,” Jeffrey Cummins, a political science professor at California State University, Fresno, said.  “It kind of knocked her off balance, and it kept her off balance from the message she wanted to get out.”

Merced Sunstar