POLITICS
08/06/2014 05:17 pm ET Updated Aug 06, 2014

GOP Congressman Says His Party's Targeting Of Hispanic Voters Would Be 'Race-Baiting'

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said in a Wednesday radio interview that he has no regrets about his comments that Democrats are waging a "war on whites," and he suggested that Republicans should not appeal to different groups based on race.

Brooks' Monday "war on whites" comment, which stated that Democrats are using racial division as a political strategy, was in response to an observation by National Journal's Ron Fournier that Republicans need to better appeal to Hispanic voters.

Fournier appeared with Brooks on Dale Jackson's radio show Wednesday and read the GOP congressman a passage about targeting Hispanic voters, which came from the Republican National Committee's Growth and Opportunity Book 2013.

"If Hispanic Americans hear that the GOP doesn't want them in the United States, they won't pay attention to our next sentence. It doesn't matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think that we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies," Fournier quoted from the report.

The report also suggests that the GOP should target "Asian and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, Indian Americans, Native Americans, women, and youth."

Brooks -- who seemed momentarily confused that the passage was from a GOP document -- said Americans shouldn't be divided by race, as such a strategy would be "race-baiting."

"I don't care that you made the statement or somebody else made the statement that triggered my remarks, but that statement, that argument, is playing hand in glove with the Democratic race-baiting strategy, and it has to come to a stop," he said.

"I'm one of those who thinks that it doesn't make any difference if you're Hispanic, or you're white, or you're Asian, or you're black, people throughout America want to do what's in the best interest of America," he added.

Later in the interview, Brooks said that Republicans were not guilty of dividing the country because they had not made any attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters based on race.

"I don't know that the Republican Party has ever appealed to Hispanic Americans based on race," Brooks said. "Name a candidate, in the United States of America, who appeals to Hispanics based on their skin color."

Fournier responded, "It's hard to name one who's not," citing former President George W. Bush as a GOP candidate who appealed directly to Hispanic voters.

Brooks' comments did not sit well with the RNC.

"We are on the right side of the issues, but as the report noted, we have to take our message to every community in America," RNC spokesman Sean Spicer told National Journal.

Brooks said during the Wednesday interview that he was "thankful" that his "war on whites" comment had gotten so much attention, but he did not repeat the phrase. On Tuesday, he had said the only lawful form of discrimination in America was discrimination against whites.

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