Presidential candidate Julian Castro on his 2020 campaign

The former Obama administration secretary talks about his first campaign stop in Puerto Rico and why he's running for president.
8:58 | 01/18/19

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Transcript for Presidential candidate Julian Castro on his 2020 campaign
When my grandmother got here almost 100 years ago, I'm sure that she never could have imagined that just two generations later one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words, I am a candidate for president of the United States of America. Those are the inspirational words of former hud secretary Julian Castro who recently announced his candidacy for president. Please welcome secretary Julian Castro. Nice to be here. So, Mr. Secretary -- I'll call you that, although I call Jimmy Carter Jimmy. Call me Julian. Okay. You said yourself that you really don't see yourself as a front-runner at the moment. No, I'm not. I'm not. But why? Why don't I see myself -- How do you know? It's so early. That's a good question. I think that by any conventional measure right now I'm not the front-runner but what I said on Saturday was as I held that announcement event in the neighborhood that I grew up in in the west side of San Antonio, I said that if you look around, nobody who grew up there grew up as a front runner. I can't think of a single time in my life where I've been a front-runner, and today in our country there are a bunch of people who don't feel like front runners and during this campaign I'm going to speak to them and I think that's going to resonate with the American people. Is that going to make you stand out in the crowd? I think so. We're going to have a crowded primary. We may have 15 or 20 people there but I have a strong vision for the future of this country. I said on Saturday that we need to aim to be the smartest, healthiest, fairest and most prosperous nation on Earth. I'm going to do the hard work of making my pitch. I was in Puerto Rico the day after my announcement because I wanted people to know that everybody should count in this country. Our fellow Americans -- I know you're going to talk about Puerto Rico but -- Thank you for doing that, for going to Puerto Rico. I know it was your first campaign stop and I was struck by that because my family is from there. Why did you go there? Because clearly the people from the island can't vote for you. You know, because I think today a lot of Americans, whether they're in the little neighborhoods in San Juan, Puerto Rico that I visited that is still struggling, whether they're there or they're in small town Ohio and factory jobs have left over the last few years, a lot of people feel forgotten, people in urban Detroit, all over the place, and I wanted to send a strong message from the beginning that if I'm president, you matter and your family matters. Why do you think trump has such an antipathy with Puerto Rico? What is his problem with Puerto Rico? Because he failed the people of Puerto Rico and he wants to obscure that failure by pushing back on it. He wants to make people -- what he's trying to do is to make people think that somehow it was their fault, but it wasn't their fault. But he didn't seem interested in helping them in the first place, so their failure was deliberate almost. And he went further because I don't know if it's true but the number two official at the department of hud and that's the agency that you ran under president Obama reportedly just resigned over his attempts to block federal relief money for Puerto Rico. He apparently said this, he did not want a single dollar going to the island, federal relief money. Why? I think part of that is the ego of the president. Why are 800,000 families going without a paycheck right now? Because of his ego about building this wall. And it is -- Here's the thing. I don't think that we've ever had a president that was so bad about being able to put the country first. He puts his ego first, whether it's building the wall or not giving Puerto Rico any money, and that's why I think that in addition to investigating what happened at hud -- I hope they do that. I hope the house and the senate do that. We need a change in leadership and that's why I'm running for president. One of the largest criticisms of president trump is his lack of experience and you have no foreign policy experience whatsoever. You also said vehemently you were not going to run for president. I didn't understand when you announced why you didn't want to run for senator possibly for governor. You could have run against Abbott in 2018, Cornyn in 2020. You're an up and coming democratic rising star. The cynical side of me thinks maybe you're doing this because it will get you a lot of national attention. Why not start with the senate and move forward to presidency? Well, I have a vision for the future of the country and there are a lot of talented people that I think are going to run for senator or governor of Texas. I have a vision for the country. I think that the country needs new leadership and I believe that I can win not only a democratic primary but the presidency. That's a good point. You don't just win the primary. In order to win you've got to beat trump. It does seem like it is a race to the left so far in this race among Democrats. You're for medicare for all, tuition-free public college, access to pre-k and kindergarten, a new deal, something we've heard from our candidates as well. I got to tell you, I spent a number of days in counties in 2016 that and democratic counties that went trump's direction because they liked his economic direction. You got to win Independence when you get the general, right? How are you going to actually win over those people that originally voted for trump last time? I think they're scared of some of these policies. Let's take some of those issues. For instance, whether it's medicare for all or universal pre-k, there are a bunch of people in the working class and the middle class that would like for their child to be able to avail himself or herself of great pre-k education. There are a lot of people out there who don't have health care. They get sick, they're worried about that because they're not going to be able to afford it. It doesn't matter what their politics are, they want health care. They want the ability to get good health care. The people in Scranton told me I've been promised that so many times before and it wasn't delivered and that's why we're switching, that's why we're voting for something else this time. That's why we need universal health care, so that everybody can have it no matter where you are, and I think people can agree with that. Julian, you and I have known each other for a long time. You're not the front-runner. You are the only Latino running so far and I think it's important for time when Latinos feel so attacked for little girls and little boys that look and sound like you and me to see somebody can grow up to be a child of immigrants, a grandchild of immigrants and run. So for that I'm very happy that you got into the but I want to ask you, you saw in the news today and Joaquin and I ordinarily would not ask you to comment on something you said but he's also your campaign manager. My brother has been giving me trouble my whole life. That's exactly what he said about you. Actually, these two brothers, they ain't done nothing to THA gets them in trouble. Who's the better looking one? He says I'm a minute uglier. Joaquin who is in congress said today that if the buzzfeed report that we discussed earlier turns out to be true, trump needs to resign or be impeached. How do you feel? I agree with that. So there are two parts to that. If that is true, then he should be impeached immediately. However, right, and y'all talked about this a little while ago, we have a process of getting to whether this is true or not. And the worst thing, the worst thing that we can do as a country in these critical moments is to throw away our important processes and how our institutions work. So this Mueller report is going to come out probably in the next couple of months. Are we going to see it? I hope so. I certainly hope so. The house intelligence committee is going to have a hearing, and you know that it's going to be a hearing that is thorough and has some bite to it, not like the ones that were held under Republican control because Democrats now control this house intelligence committee. So I say, yes, if it's true, then he should be impeached, but let's not trip over ourselves, right. First make sure that it's true and that's going to happen in short order. It is going to happen in short order. Thanks so much for coming by. We really appreciate it. Good luck to you. Absolutely. Thanks to Julian Castro.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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