On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," Mitch McConnell adviser and GOP strategist Scott Jennings offered a feeble defense of President Donald Trump's demand of his Hispanic adviser Steve Cortes at a rally in New Mexico that he say whether he prefers "the country or the Hispanics"
"Of course it masks racism, and he doesn't do a good job of masking it," said Democratic strategist Maria Cardona. "These comments were racist, ignorant and downright stupid. We shouldn't be surprised from what we've seen this president spew, from the moment he came down the escalator when he announced his campaign when he called Mexicans rapists and murderers and what else can we expect from this man? ... In the latest Univision/Latino Decisions poll, you have 71 percent of Latinos who said they will vote for the democratic candidate. 15 percent maybe will vote for Trump. He's in dire straits for Latinos."
"Scott, I'll give you a chance to respond," said host Erin Burnett. "Is there a way for it not to be racist when the president asks 'who do you like more, the Hispanics or America,' to someone who is Hispanic?"
"Look, I think if Steve Cortes is not outraged by his interaction with the president, and it doesn't sound like he is, then there's no reason for us to be outraged," said Jennings, as Cardona burst out laughing incredulously. "Is it awkward, is that what Steve said, well, sure."
"Oh, wow, okay," chuckled Cardona.
"Mr. Cheadle, who was, you know, the quote, unquote, 'my African-American,'" said Burnett. "You know, the guy Trump called 'my African-American'? He wasn't offended. And now he is, and he says, 'actually, I realize it was racist.' So I mean — sure, that's what Steve Cortes says now. I have no idea what Steve Cortes is going to say in a year."
"I mean, I think he's on CNN later tonight so maybe somebody can ask him," said Jennings. "But, I mean, Maria and Julián Castro and all of the Democrats are perpetually outraged at Trump. This is how the guy talks. And I don't know how well he's doing with Hispanics, but I know how they're doing with him. The Hispanic unemployment is a record low and more people in the minority community according to the polls are getting job in this country and that's good when Hispanics and African-Americans and minorities can all share in a good economy. We can be outraged about the phrasing, but the results of the economy are pretty good for Hispanics and other minority groups."