CNN Analyst Defending Trump Criticizes Colleague for ‘Racist and Condescending Insult’

By Zachary Stieber

A Hispanic conservative CNN analyst said his colleague attacked him with “the most racist and condescending insult I’ve ever heard” after a back-and-forth on Anderson Cooper’s program on July 15.

Steve Cortes, one of the few conservative analysts on the openly anti-Trump network and a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, said the president’s tweets about progressive Congresswomen were “wrong” but pushed back against Cooper’s labeling Trump a “demagogue.”

“I don’t believe he’s a demagogue,” Cortes began.

“How could you say this is not demagoguery?” Cooper interrupted. ‘How could you say that he is not playing on people’s prejudices, about people of color, about going back to your homeland.”

“Because he didn’t mention color,” Cortes said.

Cortes later turned to Wajahat Ali, a New York Times contributor who also appears on CNN as a pundit, criticizing him for sharing a column that claimed all Trump supporters are racist. Ali’s tweet was shared by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

“That to me is absolute prejudice. That is bigotry,” Cortes said. “To call me, to call tens of millions of Trump supporters racist, to dismiss us, to dehumanize us, and marginalize us, that is bigotry!”

Ali responded by claiming Trump is a white nationalist and a clear racist, before adding: “If you support Donald Trump’s agenda right now, in 2019, after everything he’s done, you might not be a racist, Steve… but you are fine with endorsing and supporting a racist president.”

“They’ll never love you. The white nationalists will never love you, no matter how hard you try to be the Latin face of Trump, they’ll never love you,” Ali later told Cortes.

The segment soon ended and Cortes took to Twitter.

“Tonight, my CNN colleague @WajahatAli resorted to the most racist and condescending insult I’ve ever heard, telling me ‘they will never love you.’ As if I’m some brown fool earnestly trying to earn the favor of white Trump supporters,” Cortes wrote. “Shameful.”

Ali responded on the social media website, writing: “But was it more racist and condescending than Trump telling 4 US Congresswomen to go back to their countries, Steve? More racist than saying black and brown immigrants come from [expletive] countries? More racist than saying Jews fund a caravan of immigrant invaders? Be best.”

Cortes answered, writing: “Unlike you, @WajahatAli, I don’t view all politics through the prism of race. I oppose the radical ideas of those Congresswomen, not their race. I similarly reject your bigotry toward the millions in our movement, and not your ethnicity.”

Ali continued to decline to apologize, adding: “That is very comforting. So you’re now prepared to call out by name and condemn Trump’s racism and divisive rhetoric?”

Cortes stopped responding but added on Tuesday morning: “Yesterday in mainstream media, repeatedly heard one of the laziest anti-Trump narratives out there: that he targets women of color for criticism. Go back and review the brutal way he talked about Jeb! (who’s pretty much the whitest dude ever).”