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WASHINGTON -- At his Monday evening campaign rally in New Mexico, President Donald Trump touted his support among Hispanic voters, and pointed to a member of his campaign's Hispanic Advisory Council, saying "Who do you like more, the country or the Hispanics?"
Speaking about Steve Cortes, Trump said "He happens to be Hispanic, but I’ve never quite figured it out because he looks more like a WASP than I do."
WASP stands for white Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
Cortes has been a paid commentator on CNN, but Trump has accused the network of silencing Cortes for supporting the president.
Cortes "was on CNN and they didn’t like him because he was too positive on Trump, can you believe it?" Trump said at his rally Monday.
Trump has previously reportedly criticized CNN for lacking commentators who support him. "CNN is 100%, they would never, in fact, they just fired Steve Cortes, a phenomenal guy," he said in a radio interview last month, according to the Washington Examiner.
But Cortes is still on CNN's payroll, also according to the Examiner. The Washington Examiner also reported that Cortes has not appeared on the network recently.
In an op-ed published Friday in the Florida Daily, Cortes wrote that "Hispanic-Americans have benefited greatly, with our unemployment rate currently sitting at an all-time low."
"The mainstream media are still hoping for a Hispanic backlash against Trump in 2020 but given the president’s impressive record of accomplishments, especially when it comes to the booming economy, it’s more likely that President Trump will actually receive a boost from Hispanic voters as he pursues reelection," Cortes wrote.
Trump also said that Hispanic voters in New Mexico understand his push for a border wall better than others.
"At the whole center of this crisis is the drugs that are pouring in and you understand that when other people don't understand it," Trump said.
At Monday's rally, Trump also again took the opportunity to bash Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a top-tier Democratic presidential candidate, for her past claims of having Native American ancestry, using his nickname for her, "Pocahontas."
Trump mocked Warren for releasing results of a DNA test that show she had a Native ancestor, saying he has more Native blood than she does, "and I have none."
New Mexico Rep. Debra Haaland, a Democrat, is one of two of the first Native American women to be elected to Congress in 2018. The state of New Mexico is almost 50% Hispanic or Latino and nearly 11% Native American, according to the Census Bureau.
"I'm the least racist person in this room," Trump also said during the rally, repeating one of his frequent phrases.
Trump’s appearance in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, Monday is part of his campaign's strategy to flip New Mexico into the Republican column in 2020. The state has not been won by a Republican presidential candidate since 2004.
According to a spokesperson, Trump’s campaign believes it is polling well among Latino voters, the Farmington Daily Times reported before the rally.
At the rally, Trump boasted about the state’s economy and low unemployment rates. He focused on increased oil production in New Mexico, which the campaign believes will resonate with voters there.
“You all look much better than you did three years ago,” he said.
Sunday marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month to celebrate the contributions of Hispanic and Latino people in the United States. While Hispanic and Latino people make up about 18% of the United States population, according to the Census Bureau, the designation does not indicate a person's race.
Hispanic and Latino Americans have a heritage in either Spanish-speaking or Latin American countries, but can be of any race.
"So I haven’t figured that one out, but I’ll tell you what, there’s nobody that loves this country more or Hispanics more than Steve Cortes,” Trump also said of Cortes during Monday's New Mexico rally.
"We love our Hispanics, get out and vote," Trump said.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump on Steve Cortes: 'He looks more like a WASP than I do'