GOP strategist: Trump base wants 'anyone who’s darker than a latte deported'

GOP strategist and CNN contributor Rick Wilson said Wednesday that Trump supporters "want anyone who’s darker than a latte deported" while arguing that some in the administration actually enjoy seeing migrant children being separated from their families. 

The remarks come as the White House faces considerable criticism from lawmakers on the both sides of the aisle over the "zero tolerance" policy that separated children from their parents after crossing the U.S. border illegally, despite Trump signing an executive order on June 20 to end the practice. A federal judge said the administration needs to expedite the reunification process after it missed Tuesday's deadline for all separated children under the age of 5 to be back with their parents. 

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“The pictures of the cruelty of this administration are a very deliberate part of this,” Wilson, one the network's most outspoken Republican critics of Trump, told anchor Poppy Harlow during a panel discussion on “CNN Newsroom.”

“They’re a feature, not a bug, of the Trump administration’s policy. Nobody inside the Trump administration is unhappy with these things because they’re talking to their base, they’re only talking to their core supporters, and their core supporters want anyone who’s darker than a latte deported.”

“They don’t believe in the asylum process, they want to separate the families as a deterrence, a sort of theater of cruelty,” Wilson added. “[Trump aide] Stephen Miller and the guys in the white nationalist faction of the party are very happy about this. They love the whole optics of this cruel exercise.”

Democratic strategist Joe Trippi concurred with Wilson. 

“They wanted their base to see this,” Wilson argued. “They had no intention to return these children to their families, ever, and now they have to, and that’s why they’re having so much trouble doing it.”

Wilson later defended his comments in a series of tweets:

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw had scolded the administration this week after government lawyers indicated that U.S. officials would only be able to reunite around half of the 102 children under the age of 5 who are currently under HHS custody by the deadline. 

“These are firm deadlines; they are not aspirational goals,” Sabraw said. “I would like the process to continue as expeditiously as it has been with paramount focus on the children’s welfare.”