Somerville Mayor Curtatone on Trump: ‘I Guess Any Idiot Can Run for Office.’

The mayor sparred with the candidate over so-called ‘sanctuary cities.’

Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone is poking the Trump bear this week, fighting back against the candidate’s criticism of ‘sanctuary cities’ and delivering an uppercut of a diss:

“I thought if you were a billionaire you had to have some sense—to be successful, have some knowledge,” he said in an interview with Fox 25. “I guess any idiot can run for office.”

What Curtatone finds so idiotic, he has said since Donald Trump’s blockbuster immigration speech this week, are his attacks on “sanctuary cities”—places like Somerville, where local government doesn’t prioritize finding and arresting people without legal immigration status and limits cooperation with federal immigration officials. Trump has pledged to cut federal funding to those communities.

On the campaign trail, Trump has said sanctuary cities make residents unsafe, citing cases where someone died because of the actions of a person here illegally, among them the family of Milford’s Matthew Denice, who was killed in a car crash in 2011 (the driver, who was drunk, is from Ecuador and was undocumented). Denice’s parents appeared on stage with Trump in Arizona for the speech.

But Curtatone this week has been calling bull.

“These undocumented immigrants that Donald Trump is attacking, they’re our neighbors. They contribute to this economy, and they love this country as much as you and me. And they love it more than Donald Trump,” he told the Globe Thursday.

Sanctuary cities have argued that it makes it easier to do police work. Someone who lacks the proper immigration paperwork, the argument goes, is less likely to report a crime if they fear deportation. Crime has gone down 41 percent in the years since Somerville adopted the policies of a sanctuary city, in 1987.

“You don’t make a community safe by isolating their immigration status,” Curtatone told Boston.com on Thursday. “When you engage a community, it makes it a healthier, happier, and safer place for everyone.”


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com