President Donald Trump’s pitch to Hispanic voters during a campaign rally in New Mexico Monday evening included a bizarre moment in which he wondered how CNN contributor Steve Cortes could be Hispanic even though, the president said, he appeared to be white, or of Northern European descent.
“He happens to be Hispanic, but I’ve never quite figured it out because he looks more like a WASP than I do. So I haven’t figured that one out. But I’ll tell you what — there is nobody that loves this country more or Hispanic more than Steve Cortes,” Trump said of Cortes who is also a member of Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council.
“Nobody loves the Hispanics more!” Trump continued, before asking Cortes a question that suggested Latinos have dual loyalties: “Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics?”
Cortes appeared to mouth “country,” to which Trump replied: “He says the country. I don’t know, I may have to go for the Hispanics to be honest with you. We got a lot of Hispanics! We love our Hispanics.”
Trump remarks on how white Steve Cortes looks for being Hispanic, then bizarrely asks him, “Who do like more — the country or the Hispanics? He says the country … I may have to go for the Hispanics to be honest … we love our Hispanics.” #wut pic.twitter.com/W37pDuKL12
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 17, 2019
As VOX notes:
Trump’s words are at odds with reality. Polling indicates American Latinos feel more insecure than they did before 2016, in part because of the sort of hardline anti-immigration rhetoric that he didn’t shy away from using Monday night. And since Latino households are more likely to experience poverty and food insecurity than others, the budget cuts Trump has annually proposed puts them in an especially precarious position.
Trump later asserted that Hispanics should support him and his efforts to build a border wall because they had a greater understanding of the source of the drug problem than other Americans, notes NBC News.
“And at the center of America’s drug crisis, this is where the Hispanics know it better than anybody, people said, ‘Oh, the Hispanics won’t like a wall.’ I said, ‘I think they are going to love it,'” Trump said. “You know why? Because you understand it better than other people, but at the whole center of this crisis is the drugs that are pouring in, and you understand that when other people don’t understand it.”
“Nobody loves the Hispanics more,” Trump told the crowd. “We love our Hispanics, get out and vote.”