CNN's Erin Burnett nails Trump surrogate for giving a 'sad defense' of the president's attacks on Brits
CNN host Erin Burnett/Screenshot

On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," President Donald Trump's reelection adviser Steve Cortes tried to defend the president's disrespectful behavior in Britain toward London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle after Democratic strategist Paul Begala noted the racial undertones to the attacks. Host Erin Burnett had none of it.


"I think it’s totally irresponsible for you to suggest that there is a racial component to this," said Cortes to Begala. The president has absolutely eviscerated plenty of white men and called them terrible names. Go back and look at the things he said in the Republican primaries about his opponents most of him are white men—"

"I interject merely to say this — I guess it's the best defense you have, it is sort of a sad defense, but go ahead," said Burnett.

"Well, I’m just saying it’s ridiculous to try to infuse race into this," said Cortes. There is no racial component. It’s very obvious why he attacked Sadiq Khan: because Sadiq Khan attacked him first, because he drew first blood. He wrote a really awful editorial attacking the president. He lied outright in that editorial, he said that the president — he brought up the Charlottesville hoax, where he said that he had somehow praised neo-Nazis, which of course he didn’t at all, something I have written extensively about, that’s an absolute lie.

"And he fired back at him I think largely because he wants to prove that Sadiq Khan, like other politicians when they don’t want to focus on their jurisdiction, they’d like a scapegoat of President Trump," added Cortes. "In my home city of Chicago we saw Mayor Rahm Emanuel, now former mayor Rahm Emanuel, do this repeatedly ... instead of fixing his city, Rahm Emanuel focused on saying it was a 'Trump-free zone' and focused on President Trump, same with Khan."

Begala then pointed out that Khan was not the only one who snubbed Trump — former foreign secretary and possible next Prime Minister Boris Johnson also refused to meet with him. "Why do you pick with a fight with the Muslim mayor, but you don't say anything about the right-wing white guy who used to be mayor?"

"There you go again Paul, trying to infuse race when this it has nothing to do with it," whined Cortes. "I’ll tell you, the answer the answer is because Boris Johnson may very well be prime minister, and so there are strategic reasons to not necessarily insult Boris Johnson, but what Sadiq somebody who is really irrelevant to the United States, somebody most Americans have frankly never heard, of when he comes after Donald Trump if Donald Trump counterpunches back and nobody counterpunches, by the way, like Trump, he is the Floyd Mayweather of politics—"

"You say you wouldn’t want to over the prime minister right because — what about Theresa May?" said Burnett. "Trump has said plenty of unpleasant things about her. Today he said she did a good job negotiating but back in March he slammed her ... He said she was a bad negotiator are and didn’t listen now he says she is a good negotiator."

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