Hispanic 100 spokesman and Fox News contributor Steve Cortes called remarks made by Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) about White House Chief of Staff John Kelly “reprehensible” and “disparaging,” during an interview Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
Cortes, a former member of President Donald Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council, responded to criticisms Gutiérrez leveled against Kelly, a retired four-star Marine Corps general and Trump’s former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, after the administration announced a cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Gutiérrez called Kelly “a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear” for serving in the Trump administration. On Tuesday, Gutiérrez defend his remarks during an interview with The Washington Post, saying, “He’s a politician, okay, not a general. I don’t see a uniform. He’s a politician who works for Donald Trump.”
Cortes hammered Gutiérrez for his divisive, partisan rhetoric.
"[Gutiérrez] is a race-baiter, he's a huckster, he's a political opportunist who's done nothing for his community, done quite a lot for himself," Cortes said, noting that he recently wrote an article detailing how Gutiérrez "paid his wife out of his campaign funds, which is legal, but very sleazy."
"He's paid her ... $385,000 since 2010 from his campaign committee. So that's the kind of guy he is. That's his honor," Cortes said before asking how the Illinois Democrat could have "the gall" to demean Kelly — "a man who served in our uniform for 45 years, who led the capture of Tikrit in Iraq, who lost his son in Afghanistan."
Noting that Gutiérrez is most likely "the most outspoken member" of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Cortes urged his fellow caucus members to distance themselves from the Illinois Democrat.
"That caucus should also disavow these comments because they're reprehensible, they're disrespectful, and they're just unbecoming of anyone who holds office in this country," Cortes said.
Cortes bashed Democratic politicians for shying away from debating policies "rationally" and instead choosing to label Trump and other GOP members as "racists" if they support immigration enforcement measures.
"They automatically play the racist card that's almost become the Left's version of sort of McCarthyism ... 'We can't debate policy. We're going to call you a bigot immediately,'" Cortes said.
In response to Gutiérrez's criticisms, Kelly told Fox News that "empty barrels make the most noise."
"As far as the congressman and other irresponsible members of Congress are concerned, they have the luxury of saying what they want as they do nothing and have almost no responsibility," Kelly said.
Noting that he agrees with Gutiérrez "on one thing only," Cortes said he believes that illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and qualify for DACA should be "protected." Cortes said that he doesn't refer to the so-called "dreamers," for beneficiaries of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, because it's "the Left's term" and because "Americans have dreams, too."
"So I think there needs to be far more careful vetting that they pay for, in my opinion," Cortes said of the DACA program participants.
Dreamers' parents, however, should "absolutely not" be allowed to stay in the U.S. and should be deported, Cortes added, because "they made an adult, willful decision to break our immigration laws."
"To me, that's a whole different category," Cortes said."We should be able to debate this without resorting to the kind of smears and name-calling and accusation, constant accusations of bigotry, that the Left resorts to so we can have a rational conversation about this group of people and [if] should they be treated differently than other groups."
(photo credit, article image: Steve Bott, Flickr)