Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Donald Trump 2020 campaign senior adviser Mercedes Schlapp warned that Democratic presidential candidates were going to have to “kiss the ring of ‘the Squad,'” which includes Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).
Partial transcript as follows:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s get a response now from the Trump campaign. Mercedes Schlapp, senior adviser, joins us now. And Mercedes, thank you for joining us this morning. I want to get you to respond to Congressman Cummings. He says President Trump is racist.
MERCEDES SCHLAPP, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Look, I have worked with President Trump for two years and he is not a racist. He’s a compassionate man whose policies have focused on the minority community. I mean, you look at the fact that the president has pushed and implementing the opportunity zones that helps low-income distressed communities across the country, including Baltimore.
You look at the fact that the unemployment numbers for African Americans is at its lowest, for Hispanics at its lowest. I mean, he is a results-oriented president who is focused on helping uplift all Americans, including blacks, including Hispanics. And I have to say I’ve been with him in the room with all these — with all these different communities and he does stay focused on ensuring that we’re implementing the right policies for all Americans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mercedes, we also saw him in that room in North Carolina this week, 13 seconds as the crowd chanted “send her back.” And you actually retweeted a tweet from Ben Shapiro, which said those chants are disgusting. So, it seems like you are at odds with the president. You had a different reaction to that chant.
SCHLAPP: Not at all, the president disavowed the chant. The president made it clear that he wasn’t happy with the chant. And he disagreed with it. I think at the end of the day…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Hold on a second — let me stop you there, where did the president make it clear that he wasn’t happy with the chant in that moment? I’m going to roll it again…
SCHLAPP: He made it clear in the press conference that he had the day afterwards.
STEPHANOPOULOS: 13 seconds. The next day he said he wasn’t happy with it. He didn’t show it in the moment. And this morning…
SCHLAPP: I mean, you all can make that analysis. And I’m sure you have been to a Trump rally. There’s a lot of emotion. There’s a lot going on. He continued with his speech. He made it very clear the next day he was not happy with the chat.
But what I’m unhappy about are the chants of the Squad, the chants of anti-American, anti-Semitic chants that they push forward. The fact that when you look at the Squad and the new…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Does that justify saying send her back?
SCHLAPP: … Democrat leadership and the fact that many of these Democrats are concerned, even Congressman Cummings said that he’s concerned with their race — just calling freely people racist, calling people — making anti-Semitic remarks, being that a distraction.
Many of these Democrats are concerned that the Squad is now the new Democrat leadership. I mean, even for them, the Squad, to imply that Nancy Pelosi was a racist, that even the president came out and said that was disrespectful.
So, they have to be very careful when they’re painting half of America as being racist, that is very problematic. We can not use that term very loosely.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you did hear Chairman Cummings there say he does think they have to learn to talk about things in a different way.
But you keep talking about how the president disavowed the chant. Just yesterday, and I want to show it up on the screen right now, he sent around a tweet from a woman named Katie Hopkins, which says the new campaign slogan for 2020 is “Don’t love it, leave it. Send her back is the new lock her up. Well done, Team Trump.” The president retweeted that tweet yesterday. That doesn’t sound like he’s disavowing the chant.
SCHLAPP: Look, he made it very clear that he disagreed with the chant. And I will tell you he stands with those people in North Carolina across the country who support him. And why? Because they love America. They know that the president is fighting for them every day, and it’s African-Americans, it’s Hispanics, it’s women, it’s men. I’ve been to those rallies. I’ve been to those events where they say I love this country. I love the American flag.
What are you seeing the other side? You’re seeing the Squad dictating the rules of the Democratic Party which is very clear that they’re pushing forward, you know, very disturbing statements.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It sounds like you’re picking up…
SCHLAPP: They’re calling our border patrol agents Nazis, they’re calling our detention centers concentration camps. Omar, herself, has come out with very anti-Semitic remarks, basically saying to legislators that you have dual loyalty. That is problematic. And I think that that is where you see the Democratic Party in disarray, where these Democratic presidential candidates are going to have to kiss the ring of the Squad, because they are the new voices of the Democrat Party, and that should be concerning.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You said the crowd in North Carolina loves our country, the president has said that those members of Congress don’t love our country, he says they hate America. That’s the textbook definition of saying someone is not patriotic.
SCHLAPP: I mean, I worry. I tell you my parents came here from Cuba. They fled Communism. We know the failed experiments of these very extreme ideologies and what the Squad is promoting is that. They themselves have said that American exceptionalism is exported abroad but not practiced here in America. People here in America —
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president has said very similar things.
SCHLAPP: — you know what’s beautiful, George?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mercedes, what — I know —
SCHLAPP: Can I tell you something? What’s so beautiful about America is the fact that we do have freedom of speech, that we’re able to have these — this political discourse. And so for them to be able to just go and attack the president, for them to be able to basically make these comments where they say, let’s be compassionate. For example, Omar came out basically writing a letter to judge, saying, let’s be compassionate — let’s show compassion to those individuals who are going to plan to join ISIS. That’s disturbing to me. When they push forward a government-controlled agenda where that is something that we know could be incredibly destructive to our democracy, that’s — that’s problematic, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s for your view, but you and the president seem to be saying that if you criticize the United States — conditions in the United States while he’s president, that’s unpatriotic. The president was roundly criticizing —
SCHLAPP: It’s not — no — you have to —
STEPHANOPOULOS: — the conditions in the United States when — when he was not president.
SCHLAPP: Look, it is not — this is — they’re fundamentally criticizing the United States when they’re pushing forward policies that are — that are basically anti-Semitic, that — they’re attacking our law enforcement, that they’re going — where — where they are being anti-American, that to us is very concerning. We are pushing policies —
STEPHANOPOULOS: Mercedes Schlapp —
SCHLAPP: — that is that of pushing democracy and freedom in America. When you’re pushing a socialist or a communist agenda and you’re attacking Americans, that’s a problem.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There is no one who has pushed a communist agenda, but we have to end right there. Mercedes Schlapp, thanks very much.
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