CNN political commentator Steve Cortes on Tuesday evening acknowledged that President Trump should have spoken out against Rep. Steve King (R-IA) following the congressman’s sympathetic comments about white nationalism.
Following bipartisan condemnation of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MI) for tweeting out “anti-Semitic tropes”—which the Michigan congresswoman has since apologized for—the president weighed in on Tuesday afternoon, saying that the freshman congresswoman should resign from office or from her seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Trump critics pointed out, however, that the president had inserted himself into the Omar controversy despite remaining silent last month about King’s racist remarks. CNN anchor Chris Cuomo took notice and pressed Cortes on the president’s inaction when it came to the GOP lawmaker.
“The president said nothing about Steve King,” the Cuomo Prime Time host said. “There was a lot of attention—a lot of momentum around it. The left, the media, and the right.” Cuomo credited House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans for taking action against King, but he reiterated that the president didn’t say anything.
“The silence was deafening,” the CNN host observed.
“To his discredit, he should have said it,” Cortes, a former Trump campaign adviser, conceded.
Cortes went on to offer up an excuse for the president staying mum on King, claiming that perhaps it was because the GOP disciplined the far-right congressman and stripped him of his committee assignments.
Moments later, after Cortes pivoted back to Rep. Omar and suggested she deserves the same punishment as King, Cuomo once again asked why Trump couldn’t be bothered to comment even once on the Iowa Republican when his controversy—which came after years of overtly pro-white-nationalist comments—was raging.
“Chris, as I already said, I can see,” the conservative pundit confessed. “I wish he had. I wish he had.”