Utah Attorney General Reyes Energizes Asian Pacific American Republican Leaders with Speech During RNC Convention

During day three of the 2016 RNC Convention, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, the first ethnic minority elected to statewide office in Utah, whose heritage includes Filipino, Japanese, Hawaiian and Spanish roots, delivered an energetic speech to excited Asian Pacific American Republican delegates and RNC leadership at the Hard Rock Café in downtown Cleveland.

Reyes began with greetings in Tagalog, Japanese and Hawaiian, took social media selfies, showed his prowess in Pokémon Go and joked about misperceptions surrounding Asians and Republicans, all to the delight of the packed venue.

Reyes went on to share personal details about his father’s escape from the Marcos regime in the Philippines to America. The Attorney General compared attributes common to the Asian Pacific American Community to those championed by the Republican Party and Donald Trump—such as an emphasis on family, faith, business, hard work, self-reliance and a commitment to excellence and success.

At the tail end of the speech, Reyes rapped about his Japanese heritage and finished by invoking a famous Hawaiian war cry by King Kamehameha, an ancestor. Severely outnumbered in the Battle of Iao Valley, Kamehameha called his men and women warriors forward in unity for a pivotal battle he said could not be abdicated for another day. Reyes likened it to calling delegates and fellow Republicans forward in unity for the November election: “We can’t have the attitude that we will concede this battle and live to fight another day. We must come forward now with resolve, ready for the fight—all Republicans, all Americans who care about the future of this nation—to defeat Hillary Clinton. There is far too much at stake.”

Reyes added, “I’m proud to be American first and foremost, but also fiercely proud of the cultures that make me who I am. It is an honor to be an Asian Pacific Islander serving in office. It is an honor to represent the Republican Party.”

Excerpts from his rap include:

I’m Japanese from my mama
My rhymes are my katana
Cutting through all the drama
Bringing real hope, unlike Obama
I’m a son of Clan Maeda
Kanazawa’s where we made our
Reputation as creators
In art and culture innovators
In war and battle devastators
Overcoming all the haters
Want some spice, I’m pickled ginger
Cuz I can flow just like a ninja
Get too close, my words will singe ya
Mess with me, I’ll get revenge, ya.