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CNN Panel on Trump’s Omar Comments Goes Off the Rails: “Give Me a Straight Answer!”

A CNN panel went off the rails on Monday night when Trump adviser Steve Cortes clashed with liberal New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali during a discussion of the president’s attacks on Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley.

Trump tweeted that the four liberals should “go back” to where they came from if they don’t like living in America.

Cortes, usually a strong defender of the president, admitted that Trump’s comments were “illogical” and “divisive.” He said he wants Trump to either clarify his comments, or to retract them.

CNN host Anderson Cooper, who is often critical of the president, asked, “How can you say this is not playing on people’s prejudices about people of color, about going back to your homeland.”

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

Cooper said, “So it’s just, you’re saying it’s random he picked four people of color?”

The two went back and forth, with Cooper demanding a “straight answer” on Trump’s comments. Cortes responded by going after “the demagoguery and prejudice of the Left.”

Ali finally entered the conversation, saying, “If you’re unwilling to acknowledge and call out racism because calling out racism for being racism makes you racist in this new, warped mindset of Republicans, that makes you complicit. You might not be a racist, but if you’re fine with endorsing and supporting a racist president, you have to look yourself in the mirror right now in 2019 and ask yourself is it worth it?”

Cortes responded, “To call me, to call tens of millions of Trump supporters racist, to dismiss us, to dehumanize us, and marginalize us, that’s bigotry!”

Ali said to Cortes, “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.”

Over the weekend, prior to his controversial tweet, Trump targeted Omar again in comments to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. He said,”I’m looking at this Omar from Minnesota. And if one half of the things they’re saying about her are true she shouldn’t even be in office.”

His comments come a week after a state agency released documents that reveal striking details about Omar’s first marriage–possibly to her own brother, possibly to skirt immigration laws. Rumors that the congresswoman married her own brother first surfaced on an online Somali politics forum years ago; Omar blasted them as “baseless rumors.”

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