Trenton City Councilwoman Robin Vaughn is in hot water again, with Black and Brown legislators issuing a strong worded statement scolding her for asking the city’s Latino business administrator if he spoke English.
The Trentonian first reported that Vaughn “lashed out” at Adam Cruz, the city’s administrator, and then asked, “do you not understand English?”
The New Jersey Legislative Latino and Black caucuses smacked Vaughn in a joint statement, but stopped short of calling for her resignation.
“The inappropriate and hateful language used by the councilwoman is unapologetically prejudiced and anti-Latino in tone and language,” the caucuses said. “New Jersey is better than this and expects better from its public officials, it is because of its diversity and multi-cultural differences that our state is an ideal place to live.”
This is the third time Vaughn has made offensive public statements – and the third time that political leaders denounced her.
In 2020, launched a 30-minute tirade of homophobic slurs during a COVID-19 briefing of the city council. Her attacks were aimed at Reed Gusciora, Trenton’s openly gay mayor, and she accused some of her council colleagues of “sucking (the) mayor’s dick.”
That caused Gov. Phil Murphy, U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, and others to call for her resignation. Vaughn apologized but refused to step down.
In 2019, Vaughn defended a councilwoman who said “Jew them down” in reference to the settlement of a lawsuit settlement.
The Latino and Black lawmakers said that Vaughn’s “rhetoric has been used to perpetuate long-held and dangerous stereotypes that need to be put to bed, once and for all.”
“Her comments are a stain on the reputation of our capital city and our state,” they said. ““Civil discourse and mutual respect for each other is the foundation of a self-governing society.”
The legislators said it is “not incumbent upon anyone to defend their credentials based on their cultural background and certainly not because of their accent,” the two caucuses remarked. “Trenton Business Administrator Adam Cruz is an experienced and respected public servant, that stands alone.”
Murphy slammed Vaughn for her latest xenophobic statement, but Vaughn responded with an attack on the Democratic governor.
Vaughn was elected in a 2018 runoff after unseated Council President Zachary Chester in the city’s West Ward by a 2-1 margin.
She is up for re-election in a November 2022 non-partisan election, where Democratic leaders and advocates for the Latino, Gay and Jewish communities will have an opportunity to deliver a campaign warchest and boots on the ground in a bid to unseat her.