Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a Democrat, clarified remarks he made over the weekend in which he said Republican Senator Ted Cruz should not be “defined” as Hispanic.
In a web video for ABC’s “This Week,” Richardson said he did not agree with Cruz’s politics and that he wasn’t a fan of the freshman Senator from Texas.
He then added, “Almost every Hispanic in the country wants to see immigration reform. No, I don’t think he should be defined as a Hispanic.”
On Fox News Channel’s “Studio B w/ Shepard Smith,” the former presidential candidate was asked about the remarks at the end of an interview involving foreign policy.
“That was a misunderstanding,” Richardson told Smith. “I said he shouldn’t be defined as a Hispanic. I’m a Hispanic. I don’t define myself as just Hispanic.”
He said his comments were “misinterpreted.”
Smith followed up by noting that the political ideologies of the former New Mexico governor and the Texas senator vary starkly.
“We disagree on immigration but all I was saying was I don’t consider myself just a Hispanic and he shouldn’t be defined as just a Hispanic,” said Richardson. “We’re other things, that’s what I said.”
Cruz has gained popularity – and become a lightening rod – recently with his staunch conservative stand on issues, including immigration and gun control. He currently opposes the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” immigration proposal that is being championed by Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
An hour after Richardson’s said his remarks were misinterpreted, Cruz was asked by Fox News’ Neil Cavuto about Richardson’s comments. Cruz responded by saying he wanted to avoid the “mud slinging.”
“I don’t know Governor Richardson. He and I have not met,” Cruz said. “In my view, if people are insulting you, if they are attacking your ethnicity, that tends to indicate that they don’t want to engage in the substantive merits of the arguments.”
Cavuto then mentioned Richardson’s appearance with Smith and his clarification that his comments were a “misunderstanding.” Cruz declined to take his comments a step further.
“He is entitled to his opinion,” Cruz said.