GOP strategist: O'Rourke should use NFL anthem issue to appeal to growing minority population in Texas

Republican strategist Shermichael Singleton on Tuesday said that Texas Senate hopeful Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBiden lead shrinks, Sanders and Warren close gap: poll CNN announces details for LGBTQ town hall Manchin: 'Beto O'Rourke is not taking my guns away from me' MORE (D-Texas) should use NFL players protesting the national anthem as an issue to appeal to the state's growing minority population.

Singleton says the contentious issue of NFL players protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem is something that could "resonate" for O'Rourke.

"Texas is a state that is becoming more and more diverse, and what I would like to look at is enthusiasm as far as the numbers are concerned with African-Americans and Hispanics," Singleton, who served as an adviser to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonSenior HUD official reprimanded for making political statements on the job The Hill's Morning Report - Trump eyes narrowly focused response to Iran attacks Visiting California, Trump pledges action on homelessness MORE, said. 

"What I would also go further to say is, I think that, potentially, if I was O'Rourke, if I was advising him, I would go back to Hispanics, I would go back to African-Americans and say, 'Look here you go again, Republicans are attempting to delegitimize your concerns about where we are going as a society. Is this what you want going forward?' " Singleton continued. 

"If I was advising him I would try to make this an issue because I think this is something that could resonate with a lot of minority voters in Texas," he said. 

A video showing O'Rourke defending NFL players who kneel during the anthem went viral last week. 

O'Rourke said in the clip that he “can think of nothing more American” than the protests that he said are aimed at drawing attention to African-Americans who are "being killed at a frightening level right now, including by members of law enforcement, without accountability and without justice." 

His opponent, Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan NRA says Trump administration memo a 'non-starter' Barr fails to persuade Cruz on expanded background checks MORE (R-Texas), released an ad on Monday targeting O'Rourke for the comments.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump conversation with foreign leader part of complaint that led to standoff between intel chief, Congress: report Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Trump to withdraw FEMA chief nominee: report MORE has frequently attacked NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem, calling for owners to fire them and get them off the field. 

— Julia Manchester