A little more than a week after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that “Make America Great Again” means “Make America White Again,” CNN host Chris Cuomo argued that “Make America Great Again” actually means “Make America Hate Again.” Cuomo devoted his closing argument Wednesday night to highlighting how “Trump’s racist message becomes 2020 rally cry,” as the chyron at the bottom of the screen read.
Cuomo began by reading Donald Trump’s incendiary tweets about the Democratic “Squad” aloud as they appeared on screen. The most controversial and shocking parts were highlighted.
According to Cuomo, President Trump “knew only one of the lawmakers was a naturalized citizen from somewhere else but he lumped them together on purpose because he is a demagogue and he is selling noisy brown women making trouble and trying to change what this place is about.”
At this point, Cuomo played a clip of his interview with former Republican Kansas Secretary of State and Senate Candidate Kris Kobach from the night before; where he asked Kobach a hypothetical question: “What would you do if the President said, ‘I am a racist. That’s why I said it,’ what would you do?” Kobach responded: “then I would not defend him because there’s…no excuse for racism in America.” Cuomo attempted to put Kobach in a box by asking “would you still…support him as president?”
After declaring that President Trump’s politics “are the ugly stylings of a demagogue,” Cuomo declared: “Trump says he wants to Make America Great Again but what he means is Make America Hate Again.” Cuomo argued that “any Republican who hides from this reality or sells it as something else is complicit.” As his monologue came to a close, Cuomo channeled his inner Joe Biden by telling his audience “this is a battle for the soul of the country.”
For a brief moment, Cuomo actually said something true, noting that Democrats are “playing at policy extremes.” This came after he trashed the “mostly traditional GOP moves” that “cut taxes for the wealthy” and “go easy on business.” It looks like Kobach definitely had it right when he called Cuomo a member of the left.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Wednesday’s edition of Cuomo Prime Time is below. Click “expand” to read more.
Cuomo Prime Time
CHRIS CUOMO: Now you know what this election is going to be about if this President has anything to say about it. Forget the spin from the righties seeking cover. Here is what Trump said. “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” His message was not going back to their district or hometown. He said country and he explained his implication. He knew only one of the lawmakers was a naturalized citizen from somewhere else, but he lumped them together on purpose, because he is a demagogue, and he is selling noisy brown women making trouble and trying to change what this place is about, “go back.” And his base heard the “us versus them” play, as he intended it, and too many on the right accept it, no matter how low he goes, and here is the proof.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD AT TRUMP RALLY: Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: You hear the rallying cry. “Send her back!” Notice the President who says he didn’t mean that didn’t correct them, so forget about this dispute over what he meant. The proof here now is the silence that will tell you everything. A Trump loyalist who wants to be a U.S. Senator, who ran a Federal Commission for this President, and was almost his Immigration Czar, Kris Kobach, this is the Kobach Test. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: What would you do if the President said, “I am a racist. That’s why I said it,” what would you do?
KOBACH: Then I would…then I would not defend him because there’s…
KOBACH: …no excuse for racism in America.
CUOMO: …would you still…
CUOMO: …support him as President? You have to think about it?
KOBACH: I don’t know. That would be a really tough question. If he said… if he said…if he said…if he says it…
CUOMO: You have to think about whether or not you would support a racist? Really?
KOBACH: I’d have to know who is running against him. Come on now.
CUOMO: A racist?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Maddening? Of course. But get the message. Kobach isn’t unique. He’s an echo this President is counting on. That’s why he said today that he thinks he wins if he says racist things. Stoke fear of others, and get no blowback, and probably buy-in from the party. Representative Mike Kelly, Republican Congressman, what did he say? “I’m a person of color. I’m white. I’m an Anglo-Saxon. But I’m not…people say things all the time…I don’t get offended.” You don’t get offended because you are an empowered white man, and you know that you are in a position of privilege. This is the willful ignorance that Trump is counting on, the complicity that he is counting on, and he told you exactly that today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: If people want to leave our country, they can. If they don’t want to love our country, if they don’t want to fight for our country, they can. I’ll never change on that. I do think I’m winning the political fight. I think I’m winning it by a lot. I’m not relishing the fight. I’m enjoying it because I…I have to get the word out to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: First, he was asked to fight for this country and declined. Second, relish and enjoy mean the same thing. Third, the right often tells you racism isn’t a real problem in this country.
But Trump is right. A lot of people agree with him that these types of people should go. Why? Because racism is a problem. We have struggled mightily to make this experiment in democracy and diversity work. Unity is fragile. Hate comes too easy to too many. And fomenting that hate should be the farthest thing from a real President’s mind. But not this one. Now, while his policies reflect mostly traditional GOP moves; cut taxes for the wealthy, go easy on business, his politics are the ugly stylings of a demagogue, and we’re seeing it all over Europe. We had just hoped it wouldn’t infect us here. But it has. He says he has to get the word out. Be clear what his word is. Trump says he wants to Make America Great Again. But what he means is Make America Hate Again. Any Republican that hides from this reality or sells it as something else is complicit. This is not right versus left. It is right versus wrong. Do the Democrats get that? Their struggles with half measures on oversight, playing at policy extremes, those things don’t give a clear signal that they do. Be clear, all of you, my brothers and sisters, this is a battle for the soul of the country and I offer this without hype or hyperbole or cynicism. I believe America has never succeeded when she was split. Our biggest developments were also products of our diversity but we now have a President who thinks the way forward is to go back. Make America Great Again is inherently regressive. That’s a fact of his own messaging. But here’s the deal. This President only decides what he offers. You decide what to accept. Thank you for watching.