THE HOT SEAT
Trevor Noah Grills Congressman Will Hurd: ‘How Can You Be a Black Person and a Republican?’
The ‘Daily Show’ host had a contentious—albeit respectful—conversation with the Republican congressman from Texas.
On Wednesday night’s edition of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah welcomed Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican congressman from Texas. Hurd is black, and just last month, was subjected to a racist quip from comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show Real Time.
Noah started off the interview by asking Hurd about being a black Republican—seeing as Hurd is the only black Republican in the House of Representatives, and one of only two black Republicans in the 116th Congress, alongside Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina.
“There’s not many of us,” offered Hurd.
“Why do you think that is?” pressed Noah.
Hurd proceeded to deliver a bunch of gibberish about how Republicans don’t recruit enough from minority communities.
Later on in the interview, Noah asked, “There are pages of your policies that are very difficult to distinguish from what many Democrats are saying, I’ll be honest. I think there are more Democrats saying what you’re saying than Republicans saying what you’re saying. What do you think makes you a Republican?”
Hurd essentially dodged the question, replying, “I believe in minority rights, I believe in economic choice, I believe in consumer choice, I believe in separation of powers—these are all the things that I believe, and I’m going to continue to push this. But I also know that the only way we get big things done is by doing it together.”
About 10 minutes in, after the two touched on how Hurd disagrees with the president’s border wall initiative and his stance on DACA, Noah brought up North Carolina Republicans’ overtly racist disenfranchisement of black voters.
“How do you respond to black Americans who say, Will, how can you support a party that very clearly tries to disenfranchise the black vote, very clearly tries to implement laws and ideas that oppress black people in America. How can you be a black person and a Republican?” asked Noah. “Isn’t that in and of itself a paradox? And not because no one can be what they want to be, but rather because this Republican Party, specifically, seems to favor ideas and laws that target black people.”
Again, more obfuscation.
“Well, I would say to that that I support growing the amount of people that can actually turn out and vote. I support making sure that the police are properly trained and aren’t targeting black men and women unnecessarily. I believe in things like ‘opportunity zones’ to making sure we’re growing the opportunity for someone to move up the economic ladder,” said Hurd. “You know, my Dad’s black, my Mom is white. They got married and moved to South Texas in 1971, and even then, my Dad couldn’t stop in restaurants or go to any hotel. He couldn’t do that then. And then, fast forward 40 years later, their youngest son is a member of Congress.”
He added: “So I disagree with the premise, and my goal is to make sure we have a competition of ideas within the party, and amongst the party.”
But Noah wasn’t done, pressing Hurd on exactly how he disagreed with the premise—seeing as he didn’t offer up any evidence to the contrary.
“When you say you ‘disagree with the premise,’ which part of the premise do you disagree with?” said Noah. “Let’s say, for instance, the Supreme Court ruling saying, hey, we’ve looked at multiple laws that Republicans have created in and around voting, and we’ve found no other possible explanation for these laws other than racism…Do you disagree with that part of the premise?”
Cue Rep. Hurd: “Look, that’s the folks in North Carolina that made that decision, and saying that everybody who may have done that or pursued that does not mean everybody in the party believes it.”