Arizona State Rep. Martin Quezada (D-Maryvale), who is also the campaign manager for Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, tweeted on July 9 that fellow legislator, Vietnamese-American Quang Nguyen (R-Prescott), is a “white nationalist” for tweeting Governor Doug Ducey’s announcement of Arizona’s new law banning critical race theory. Nguyen, who is Vietnamese, fled Vietnam with his brother during the Vietnam War as a refugee, living in refugee camps until they were reunited with their parents four months later.
Nguyen tweeted a news release from the governor’s website, “Governor Ducey, Legislature Take Strong Action to Stop Critical Race Theory” with a link. Quezada copied the tweet and wrote, “This is what #WhiteNationalism looks like,” with an arrow pointing at Nguyen’s tweet.
— Sen. Martín Quezada (@SenQuezada29) July 9, 2021
State Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), who is running for secretary of state to replace Hobbs, responded, “You do realize Rep. @QuangNguyenAZ came to this country legally as a war refugee from Vietnam in 1975? He is one of the most American patriots I have had the pleasure of knowing. Rep. Nguyen it is truly an honor to serve with you in the AZ House.”
You do realize Rep. @QuangNguyenAZ came to this country legally as a war refugee from Vietnam in 1975? He is one of the most American patriots I have had the pleasure of knowing. Rep. Nguyen it is truly an honor to serve with you in the AZ House. 🇺🇸🙌🏻
— Shawnna LM Bolick (@Bolick4Arizona) July 9, 2021
Political consultant Brian Anderson reminded people that Hobbs called Trump supporters Nazis.
This is @KatieHobbs's current Campaign Treasurer.
He is calling @QuangNguyenAZ—a Vietnamese-American state legislator—a "White Nationalist" for opposing Critical Race Theory.
— Brian Anderson (@AZBrianAnderson) July 9, 2021
— Katie Hobbs (@katiehobbs) August 15, 2017
Local conservative activist Merissa Hamilton tweeted Quezada back, “#StopAsianHate This is what Critical Race Theory looks like,” pointing at his tweet.
— Merissa Hamilton (@merissahamilton) July 9, 2021
A user named Crosspatch responded to Quezada, “Except he is an immigrant from Asia.”
Except he is an immigrant from Asia.
— Crosspatch (@VictorB123) July 10, 2021
Quezada is a strong defender of CRT. According to Fox 10, he said about the controversial education, “These are uncomfortable conversations. They aren’t supposed to make you feel good. That’s the point of these conversations.” The Phoenix New Times considers Quezada one of a few progressive Democrats in the state legislature. Every year he sponsors an unsuccessful bill to repeal SB 1070, the popular legislation passed in 2010 which cracked down on illegal immigration, but was somewhat gutted by a federal district court judge.
This isn’t the first time white nationalism came up in a high-profile manner regarding Nguyen. During debate on an amendment to a bill to require teaching children about the evils of totalitarian ideologies (which did not make it in the Senate), Nguyen delivered a fiery speech on the Arizona House floor in June rebutting Arizona State Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D-South Tucson) for saying white nationalism is a bigger threat than communism. Hernandez declared, “We keep hearing about the threat of communism…you know what’s a bigger threat?” Hernandez asked. “White Nationalism. The insurrection that happened on Jan. 6.”
Nguyen asked to respond to Hernandez, and said, “White nationalism didn’t drown 250,000 Vietnamese in the South China Sea. The Communists did. White Nationalism didn’t execute 86,000 South Vietnamese at the fall of Saigon. The Communists did. White Nationalists didn’t put me here. Communism did.”
He went on, “So don’t take it lightly. Don’t mock me. Don’t mock what I go through in life. It’s rough. I lost most of my cousins and family members due to Communism. If we don’t stand up to teaching Communism to our children, we’ll lose this country. So sir, don’t mock me.”
Nguyen told Fox News afterwards that while he was giving his speech, people he believed were teachers sitting in the House gallery gave him the thumbs down. He called it “insensitive,” saying, “You’re standing up there and giving me the thumbs down because I’m sharing my family’s story with you. It was appalling to even see that.”
Nguyen became a legislator this year on January 11, 2021. Prior to that, he worked at Northrop Corporation and said in 2004 he “escaped the liberal politics of California to a great community in Prescott Valley, AZ, to raise our family.” He now runs a marketing and branding company, Caddis Advertising.
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