CNN anchor blasts contributor Sean Duffy over 'anti-immigrant bigotry'

CNN anchor Brianna Keilar blasted former Rep. Sean DuffySean DuffyRepublican lobbying firms riding high despite uncertainty of 2020 race Bottom Line Ex-Rep. Frelinghuysen joins law and lobby firm MORE (R-Wisc.), himself a CNN contributor, on Tuesday after he suggested Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who fled Ukraine as a child, was motivated by "an affinity" for his "homeland."

"That is some anti-immigrant bigotry, and it’s an odd questioning of patriotism coming from Sean Duffy, the guy who spent part of his 20s on MTV's 'The Real World' and 'Real World/Road Rules Challenge,'" Keilar said Tuesday, contrasting Duffy’s career with that of Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient who served in Iraq. 

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The remarks, Keilar said, were “a sign of how desperate some of the president’s backers are as they try to defend him against what Vindman, perhaps the most credible and knowledgeable witness so far, has to tell Congress.”

Duffy’s fellow contributor Jeffrey Toobin also blasted Duffy’s remarks, calling them "insanity and, frankly, anti-immigrant bigotry."

In an interview Tuesday morning, Duffy suggested Vindman’s Ukrainian background influenced his testimony to the House committees. Vindman had twice voiced concerns about a phone conversation in which President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Vulnerable Democrats brace for Sanders atop ticket MORE’s son Hunter Biden.

"It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense," Duffy said. "I don't know that he's concerned about American policy. ... We all have an affinity to our homeland, where we came from. ... He has an affinity, I think, for the Ukraine," he continued.

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThis week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Overnight Defense: GOP lawmaker takes unannounced trip to Syria | Taliban leader pens New York Times op-ed on peace talks | Cheney blasts paper for publishing op-ed Liz Cheney blasts NYT for publishing op-ed by Taliban leader MORE (R-Wyo.) also condemned the remarks, saying Tuesday that it was “shameful” to question “the patriotism [and] the dedication to country of people like Mr. Vindman, Lt. Col. Vindman, who will be coming today, and others who have testified.”

Duffy attempted to defend the remarks on Twitter on Tuesday, tweeting, “My point is that Mr. Vindman is an unelected advisor, he gives ADVICE. President Trump sets the policy.”