Hardball host Chris Matthews asked Tuesday night who was going to watch the GOP debate between “two Cuban guys,” referring to Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
“Who is going to watch a debate between the two Cuban guys? Who's going to watch the debate between Rubio, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz? Who cares? Because you know they are sort of fighting their interleague fight about who's the hawkish guy or whatever. Who's going to watch that Thursday night? Maybe I am building that up too much,” Matthews said.
In November 2015, Matthews questioned if Cuban-Americans could even be considered Hispanic.
“Is he trying to insinuate that Marco Rubio, a fellow Spanish surname–I’m not sure the right word is Hispanic for them,” Matthews said at the time. “Because they are Cuban nationals or whatever, or come from Cuba. But, uh, is he going to insinuate that he’s still basically for what he calls amnesty?”
Neither Rubio nor Cruz were born in Cuba. Rubio was born in Miami, Florida to Cuban immigrant parents. Cruz was born in Canada and to an American mother and a Cuban immigrant father. Cruz has renounced his Canadian citizenship before deciding to run for president.
Donald Trump had announced moments before that he was not going to be participating in the Fox News debate because Megyn Kelly is slated to be a moderator.
Matthews has often been sensitive to attacks on Obama and his agenda, referring to those attacks as racist.