Trump supporter on CNN: There’s no such thing as Latino citizens

There’s a fine line between not liking someone and not believing that they exist.

Yet that was the claim made yesterday on CNN by Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor at the American Spectator and supporter of Donald Trump. In a debate with Ana Navarro, he told the Republican strategist and Nicaraguan immigrant that “I don’t think you’re a Latino. I think you’re an American just like me.”

When Navarro pointed out that she was born outside of the United States but was “naturalized under Ronald Reagan’s amnesty,” Lord shot back: “There are no Latinos in this country, there are no African-Americans. We are all Americans.”

Watch the video, via Media Matters:

[iframe src=”https://mediamatters.org/embed/204384″ width=”480″ height=”360″]

By refusing to acknowledge the ethnic identity of anyone who holds American citizenship, Lord’s distinction effectively classified all Latinos residing in the United States as non-citizens. This is patently absurd, and Lord knows it — at least he does when he uses ethnic language in his own writing. Here’s some of what he had to say on Hillary Clinton’s voting rights speech in June:

It is time — way, way past time — for Republicans to start taking their campaigns in an aggressive way to African-Americans. Baltimore, but of course, would be Exhibit A. After decade after decade after decade of being run 100% by liberals — whether whites like ex-Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley or African-Americans like the last several mayors and the current political elite of the city — the riots in Baltimore provided the GOP with a considerable opening.

Jeffery Lord certainly believes African-Americans exist when he wants Republicans to go out and get their votes. Although, they’ll probably have a hard time winning those votes if they literally can’t distinguish the voters they’re looking for. Since, you know, hyphens and all other multicultural identities are un-American. Navarro, for her part, took this assertion apart in the debate, sarcastically thanking him for explaining her own identity to her.

Lord and Navarro debating, screenshot via CNN / TalkingPointsMemo

Lord and Navarro debating, screenshot via CNN / TalkingPointsMemo

Of course, declaring a winner and a loser in the debate depends a great deal on which electorate you think Lord and Navarro were talking to. It is a poll-tested fact in GOP circles that hyphens and other delineations of ethnic identity are uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst. Bobby Jindal, himself an Indian-American, indicated as much at CPAC earlier this year, going out of his way to reject his immigrant heritage in telling the audience that, “I don’t know about you, I’m tired of the hyphenated Americans. No more ‘African-Americans.’ No more ‘Indian-Americans.’ No more ‘Asian-Americans.'”

Keep in mind that the conservatives who are so receptive to this rejection of non-white identities have no problem rising up to defend white heritage when the issue moves from breaking up millions of families to maintaining a symbol of racist oppression. Scratch the surface of an immigration hawk, and you’ll find someone with a keen sense of an ethnic identity that they are very sure is real.

This being the case, it seems as though Lord lost the moral argument and won the political argument. As far as the Republican base is concerned, they’re more than willing to choose racism over Navarro’s multiculturalism. Donald “We Should Have Invaded Mexico Instead of Iraq” Trump has seen a marked rise in the polls since launching his campaign on a patently racist platform. He has flipped his favorability among those who identify with the Tea Party in less than a month — from a net-negative 20/55 favorability rating in June to a 56/26 rating yesterday, according to a Monmouth University poll.

Not only does Lord not believe Navarro exists as a Latino, her party doesn’t want her here as one, either.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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14 Responses to “Trump supporter on CNN: There’s no such thing as Latino citizens”

  1. Butch1 says:

    She loves to interrupt and talk over someone so they cannot get their point across to the audience. She did a brilliant job of making sure everyone knew her view, but when he tried to give his, she made sure he wasn’t allowed to do so. This is the fault of the spineless hosts of the program not corralling and reining her back in and making her stop to let him finish his point without taking up the allotted time for that segment.

    I just do not like rude debate and that is what it has come down to be in today’s world. I usually switch channels or just turn it off when they become this rude. I do not care what they have to say when this happens.

  2. BeccaM says:

    It’s not exactly ‘denying someone exists.’ Jeffrey Lord’s real transgression is to deny people the right of self-identification as both individuals and as members of groups, particularly groups which have historically suffered oppression. It is, furthermore, an attempt at forced homogenization, further denying the fact that people from certain backgrounds are treated differently, often to the point of denying civil rights and suffering from discrimination and prejudice.

    This sort of thing nearly always comes from someone speaking from a position of inherent privilege. Here, as usual, Jeffrey Lord a white conservative male — and so he doesn’t want anybody who isn’t white, conservative and male to realize they’re being systematically disadvantaged. Thus he insists you’re not being pulled over for ‘driving while black’ — it’s just a coincidence. You’re not being beaten within an inch of your life for being gay — it’s just a random crime. You’re not being paid 70 cents on the dollar and denied promotions at work because you’re a female — it’s because you’re not trying hard enough.

    Lord’s denial of the self-identification of being Latino is more of the same. It’s a divide-and-conquer strategy, and in many respects a nascent form of NewSpeak: If you are denied certain words, certain terms and categories of expression, it is a move towards the eradication of ideas. If you’re not allowed to self-identify as Latino (or African-American or LGBT or whatever), you can’t find common cause with people of similar backgrounds and origins.

    And so the privilege of the ruling category — white, male, conservative and very probably Christian — is preserved.

  3. Hue-Man says:

    I watched part of the parade this morning on TV5. It reminded me of being in La Défense on Bastille Day when French fighter jets flew (noisily) overhead on their way down the Champs Elysées.

  4. Indigo says:

    Happy Bastille Day (July 14).

  5. Indigo says:

    The further back the Irish line in my family goes, the more fantastic the story.

  6. keirmeister says:

    So we’re all Americans, huh? I’m a black American, born and raised here. So how come some Americans are treated differently depending on their ethnic heritage?

  7. 2karmanot says:

    Being Irish I would say that the further back it goes, the thick as blood it gets.

  8. 2karmanot says:

    He went on to say that, of course, Ms. Navarro only counted as 3/5 of a citizen because she was a naturalized woman.

  9. Hue-Man says:

    France is the logical extension of this “we’re all Americans” approach.

    “France, with its revolutionary, republican spirit of egalité, likes to think of itself as a color-blind society, steadfastly refusing, for example, to measure race, ethnicity, or religion in its censuses.”

    “It has significant problems of discrimination, and of racial and economic segmentation, but limited tools to measure or correct them.” http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/can-the-french-talk-about-race

  10. Outspoken1 says:

    St. Patricks Day, national holiday of Columbus Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day (not everyone uses the same calendar) …

  11. dommyluc says:

    Ok, Mr. Lord, if that is what you TRULY believe, then tell the national Republican Party to start fighting to have the St. Patrick’s Day Parade banned in this country. Go ahead. I DARE you, motherfucker. Oh, I’m sorry, your moral outrage about ethnic pride and identification only extends to those OFF-WHITE races. Well, mighty white of you, my patriotic non-racist friend!

  12. Indigo says:

    Being Irish-German-Scottish-Swiss-Alsatian-Algonquin myself, I’m not entirely convinced that any ethnocentric claim is particularly significant. (The further back it goes, the thinner it gets.)

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