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CNN Panel Blows Up After Rick Santorum Says It’s ‘Ridiculous’ To Call Trump’s Immigration Stance ‘Racial’

The new cycle of the past few days has largely been dominated by discussion over President Donald Trump reportedly calling immigrants from Haiti and African nations “people from shithole countries” during an immigration meeting. As you’d imagine, based on the context of the president’s reported remarks, much of the conversation has revolved around whether or not Trump is racist.

During a panel discussion on today’s broadcast of CNN’s State of the Union, things broke down when former Republican senator and current Trump loyalist Rick Santorum attempted to make the case that the POTUS was not playing “racial politics” with his immigration policies.

After Democratic strategist Neera Tanden compared Trump’s handling of a potential immigration deal to the way he’s dealt with Charlottesville and NFL protests, Santorum shot back. Stating that he was the only one on the panel willing to defend the president, the ex-presidential candidate declared that “to suggest this is racial politics is ridiculous.”

And with that, the shoutfest began.

“Why is it ridiculous?!” Tanden yelled. Meanwhile, panelist Karine Jean-Pierre exclaimed that all Trump sees is color. When Santorum added that the policies he’s proposing aren’t racial, he was told that the “Muslim ban is racial.”

“Let’s be real clear what the president has done,” Jean-Pierre said. “He’s repealed TPS. He said, no, I don’t want it. He repealed DACA. He said, I don’t want it.”

She added that Trump claimed he only wanted a bipartisan deal but when one was presented to him he ended up rejecting it.

Pressed by host Jake Tapper later in the conversation about Trump pushing for more immigrants from Norway and asked how being Norwegian represents “merit-based immigration,” Santorum conceded that Trump was not helping himself with his own remarks.

“I’m saying that the president’s words are wrong, unhelpful, and they also in my mind don’t relate to the policies that he’s putting forward,” he told Tapper. “And that’s the problem here. He’s portraying this in a way that doesn’t fit with what he’s actually advocating.”

Watch the clip above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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