While interviewing Republican Congressional Candidate Lea Marquez Peterson on Sunday’s edition of KasieDC, MSNBC host Kasie Hunt tried to bait her into calling the President a racist by bringing up his comments referring to MS-13 gang members as “animals”: “The President earlier this week referred to some immigrants and drug dealers as well as animals, not as people. Do you think that rhetoric is racist?”
Peterson, who hopes to succeed retiring Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally in an Arizona congressional district that Hillary Clinton won by five points, did not take the bait. She pointed out that President Trump had directed his “rhetoric” at MS-13 gang members, which Hunt failed to mention: “this comment most recently I think was referring to the gang members that are coming from Mexico that are committing horrendous acts on people here in the United States. So I think calling them animals is not something that is beyond that point. So I think in terms of what he said most recently, I don’t believe it was racist.”
President Trump referred to members of the brutal gang MS-13 as “animals” during a roundtable discussion at the White House with elected officials from California opposed to their state’s politically correct “sanctuary” policy. The media initially made it look like President Trump had referred to all illegal immigrants as “animals,” Shortly after the President made those comments, the Associated Press released a tweet claiming that “Trump referred to those crossing US border illegally as ‘animals’ and slammed California sanctuary laws as ‘deadly.’” Nearly every other major news organization echoed the AP in making it sound like the President had directed the “animals” moniker at all illegal immigrants, not just MS-13.
The AP later deleted that tweet, saying in a separate tweet that “it wasn’t made clear that he was speaking after a comment about gang members.” It was perfectly clear to anyone who had watched the whole video, not just the sound bite distributed by the Trump-hating media, that President Trump’s “animals” description only applied to MS-13 members. Based on Hunt’s line of questioning, which took place three days after the AP admitted its “mistake,” it appears that she did not get the memo.
Even after the context of President Trump’s remarks became clear to the American public, the left still tried to justify their anger towards President Trump’s comments. Pro-abortion House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi went into a big lecture about how every human being has a “spark of divnity” while Trump-hating “Republican” Ana Navarro slammed the President’s comments as “dehumanizing” despite the fact that she had previously described Trump as an “animal” and “unfit to be human.”
With the midterm elections still months away, expect the liberal media to ask many more Republicans running for Congress to weigh in on President Trump’s “racist rhetoric.”
KASIE HUNT: Welcome back. 2018 has been a banner year in terms of women running for Congress. Right now, 408 are still in the running for seats in the House of Representatives. However, most are Democrats and The New York Times reports the number of Republican women in the House is on the verge of shrinking. That’s because of the 23 current Republican women in the House, six are either retiring or seeking higher office. But as the Times reports, Republicans are optimistic about the prospects of six or more of their new female faces. Joining me now, one of the Republican women hoping to join the GOP conference next year, Arizona’s Lea Marquez Peterson. Thank you so much for being with us tonight. I really appreciate it.
LEA MARQUEZ PETERSON: No. Thank you, Kasie, for having me.
HUNT: I actually want to start with a question about one of your colleagues, potential colleagues in Arizona, and that’s Senator John McCain. There’s been a lot of reflection on his legacy of late, and he’s also become a flash point in some of the Congressional races in Arizona. On the Republican side, Kelli Ward, running for Senate, has said that she thinks that McCain should step down because of his health issues. Do you agree with that or do you think he should be allowed to serve out his term?
PETERSON: I think we owe Senator McCain a lot of respect and dedication to what he’s given to our country as well to this seat in Senate. I think we need to be patient and see how his health improves and we need to be respectful to the position he and his family are in.
HUNT: Let's, let’s talk a little bit talk about one of the issues that has really animated your state and that’s immigration. Arizona is a place where President Trump first generated some of the very large crowds that he saw on the campaign trail. Do you agree with President Trump’s plan to build a border wall and many of the other policies that he has advocated?
PETERSON: You know, I’ll start by mentioning that I’m a local candidate, that I’ve not run for office before so really, the feedback that I’m able to provide, what I’m talking about on the campaign trail is really what I’m hearing from constituents throughout the district. I run a local Chamber of Commerce that is comprised of almost 1800 different businesses throughout the region. And so certainly our national security and border security is top of mind for so many folks, for their families and for their businesses. Yes I do support that border security would include a component of a wall where it is feasible, surveillance technology, increased border patrol, immigration reform. Those are certainly components of border security that we need to tackle as a country.
HUNT: Do you want President Trump to come and campaign with you?
PETERSON: I would be honored if President Trump were to come out to Arizona to see more about what we’re facing, economic positions, seeing our Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in A-10. It would be an honor to have a President in our district.
HUNT: Philip Rucker from The Washington Post has a question for you. Phil?
PHILIP RUCKER: Hi, there. I just have a question about one of your fellow Republicans in Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County. One of the, or the very first pardon that President Trump did in office was to grant clemency to Sheriff Arpaio and I’m curious if you thought that was an appropriate step and if you’re as supportive of his record in Maricopa County as the President seems to be.
PETERSON: You know, I haven’t really engaged with Sheriff Joe in a lot of these activities. He’s in central Arizona. I’ve located and been in the chamber world down here in Southern Arizona for many years. Not an area in which I’ve weighed in on his actions. And you know, so I really don’t have a position in terms of President Trump’s pardoning of Sheriff Joe.
HUNT: On this, to continue on this immigration question, there is a discharge position in the House of Representatives which would turn the floor over to take it away from the leadership. And they want to force a vote on legislation to help dreamers. If you were elected to the House, would you support having such a vote on the House floor?
PETERSON: You know, I have followed this closely and I find it interesting. I’ve been a supporter of finding a legal solution for our dreamer students, our DACA students. And know that President Trump himself said we are looking for action, there’s a deadline, he wants to see Congress act. So I likely would support this discharge position. I think it’s putting forth four or five different bills. Then we can start having the discussion and those bills are a variety and provide a lot of different context. So I think it’s important to have this conversation in our country.
HUNT: One final question for you. The President earlier this week referred to some immigrants and drug dealers as well as animals, not as people. Do you think that rhetoric is racist?
PETERSON: You know, there have certainly been some comments I’ve been concerned about in the past with President Trump. However, this comment most recently I think was referring to the gang members that are coming from Mexico that are committing horrendous acts on people here in the United States. So I think calling them animals is not something that is beyond that point. So I think in terms of what he said most recently, I don’t believe it was racist.
HUNT: Lea Marquez Peterson, thank you very much for your time tonight. I really appreciate it.