At a rally in Houston on Monday, Cruz took a jab at the problems that have plagued the federal online healthcare enrollment site.
"You may have noticed that all the Nigerian email scammers have become a lot less active lately," Cruz said. "They all have been hired to run the ObamaCare website."
Speaking on MSNBC’s "The Ed Show," Cartwright said Cruz was sending a subtle message to the crowd.
“Jokes about Nigerian scammers, you know, I wonder how much off the cuff that really was, and how calculated it was to appeal to Sen. Cruz’s base, many of whom believe that the president is from Africa,” he said.
Cartwright was pressed by the host on whether he believed Republicans were seeking to inflame racial tensions.
“I don’t know that they’re doing that … but I will say that I suspect it,” he said. “And whether they’re doing it on purpose, it does appeal to the people who think that way.
"There are, you know, a lot of fairly backward people that are a part of the base of people like Sen. Cruz. And comments like that just are right up their alley.”