MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart: GOP’s ‘Got To Be Very Careful’ Responding to Obama’s Immigration Executive Action

On Monday, November 17, Jose Diaz-Balart officially took over the hosting duties on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, replacing Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, and now anchors two hours of MSNBC’s morning programming.

The MSNBC host used his expanded role at the network to promote President Obama’s proposed executive action on immigration reform and warned that the GOP has “got to be very careful” in how they respond to the president.

Diaz-Balart never explained exactly why the GOP needs to “be very careful” in their response to Obama’s executive action and Kasie Hunt never bothered to challenge her colleague and simply let his comments pass.

Kasie Hunt went on to push the line that the GOP was considering a government shutdown as a means to derail President Obama on immigration:

You have Senate leaders saying that they definitely don't want a government shutdown, which is potentially what could happen if that funding resolution doesn't pass through. On the other hand, on the House side they've sort of left that possibility open but in the meantime you have several conservatives on the Senate side who are working to figure out a way to strip funding for implementing this executive order no matter what. 

As the interview continued, Jose Diaz-Balart eagerly mocked the GOP’s supposed lack of support among Hispanic voters:

Kasie, let's look at the numbers for a minute. Republican House candidates got just 38% of the Latino vote this year compared to 62% for Democrats. They got a higher percentage than they did during the last presidential election but that’s not saying much. 

Diaz-Balart and Hunt then discussed how both political parties need to fight “for the hearts and minds of Latino voters” before Kasie Hunt concluded the segment by lamenting that President Obama’s immigration agenda hadn’t become law yet:

You remember that he said that this comprehensive immigration reform was going to be one of the first things that he did out of the gate and obviously we're still sitting here and that hasn't gotten done. So there's been a long simmering debate as well as this legislation moved on the Hill and then failed.

See relevant transcript below. 

MSNBC’s The Rundown

November 17, 2014

JOSE DIAZ-BALART: We go back to what is driving D.C. this morning. Members of Congress are bracing for executive action on immigration by President Obama. White House officials tell NBC News the plan will give legal status to millions of undocumented workers. Exact timing of when the president will issue that order is still unknown. But no matter the timing, the plan will surely have an impact beyond this election cycle. And most likely the next. MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt is back with us from Capitol Hill. Kasie, good see you again. 

KASIE HUNT: Nice to see you, Jose.

DIAZ-BALART: Tell us a little about how the GOP plans to respond to this executive action. They've got to be very careful there. 

HUNT: So, Jose, the timing of this matters a lot because government funding runs out on December 11th. So I think that’s going to really impact the debate whether or not the president comes out and does this earlier rather than later. He said that he wants to do it right and that he's not worried about the timing. You have Senate leaders saying that they definitely don't want a government shutdown, which is potentially what could happen if that funding resolution doesn't pass through. 

On the other hand, on the House side they've sort of left that possibility open but in the meantime you have several conservatives on the Senate side who are working to figure out a way to strip funding for implementing this executive order no matter what. So I think either way you're going to see immigration politics injected into this debate over fiscal policy. 

DIAZ-BALART: Kasie, let's look at the numbers for a minute. Republican House candidates got just 38% of the Latino vote this year compared to 62% for Democrats. They got a higher percentage than they did during the last presidential election but that’s not saying much. This executive action might be short-term but talk about some of the long-term consequences for both parties. 

HUNT: Sure. While this seems like a short-term fight we're talking a matter of weeks and months here. This is really a long-term battle for the hearts and minds of Latino voters. A really important and growing sector of the electorate. 

And, you know, the president didn't act before the elections and President Bill Clinton, over the weekend suggested that that might have led to depressed turnout among Latino voters. Take a listen. 

BILL CLINTON: There was a collapse of the youth vote. The African-American vote held fairly steady and was remarkable given we had little bit of a loss of the Hispanic vote, perhaps because the president didn't issue the immigration order, but it was a tough call for him. Because had he done so then a lot of the others would have lost by even more. It was a difficult call. 

HUNT: So as you can see there, Republicans are very aware that this is an opportunity for them controlling both houses of Congress. House Speaker Boehner has said it's time to deal with this issue. They view it as a chance to try and win over some of those Latino voters that have been going so heavily for Democrats. The president on the flip side knows he has to do something to show he's taking action.

DIAZ-BALART: Yeah it’s interesting because the Speaker did say that before in the last session. He said that immigration was going to be one of the priorities and then they didn't get it done. It's clearly, the president is acting -- there has to be some political ramifications to why he's doing it now because there is no emergency he has to deal with as far as deportations. He's been deporting a thousand people for the last six years. There are political ramifications to deciding to do this now. 

HUNT: There absolutely are political ramifications and, you know, they know -- the White House knows that Latino voters, Hispanic voters, are disappointed in how this president has approached this, really from the get go. I mean, you remember that he said that this comprehensive immigration reform was going to be one of the first things that he did out of the gate and obviously we're still sitting here and that hasn't gotten done. 

So there's been a long simmering debate as well as this legislation moved on the Hill and then failed. Republicans were concerned that the president would refuse to sign a bill without a path to citizenship in it because he was concerned about giving Republicans credit or too much of a win. 

DIAZ-BALART: Yeah. He told me some months ago that he was certainly willing to consider it but they never got it out of the House on that. But MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, what a pleasure to see you. Thanks for being with me and driving D.C. 

Immigration MSNBC Daily Rundown Kasie Hunt Jose Diaz-Balart

Sponsored Links