Not long after hearing Donald Trump say, on the day he launched his presidential campaign, that some Mexicans who cross the U.S. border are “rapists,” Miamian Ana Navarro became the leading voice on cable television of the outraged Republican woman.
So when a 2005 recording came out Friday in which Trump boasted about making sexual advances and groping women (“When you’re a star, they let you do it”) Navarro exploded.
“I think that every single Republican is going to have to answer the question, ‘What did you do the day you saw the tape of this man boasting about grabbing a woman’s pussy?’ ” Navarro said on CNN. “Period.”
It was 42 minutes after midnight Friday, and CNN had aired the tape of Trump himself — uncensored — Friday afternoon. But hearing Navarro repeat it upset another panelist on air, Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes.
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“Will you please stop saying that word?” she asked. “My daughter is listening.”
That unleashed Navarro — not that she’d reined herself in to begin with.
“You know what, Scottie? Don’t tell me you’re offended when I say ‘pussy,’ but you’re not offended when Donald Trump says it,” Navarro yelled. “I’m not running for president. He is.”
For anyone familiar with Navarro, her blunt reaction was hardly surprising. Since long before CNN hired her in 2012, she’s delivered unfiltered political opinions, even — or perhaps especially — when it comes to criticizing her own party.
She was among the first Florida Republicans to hammer then-Gov. Charlie Crist for backing President Barack Obama’s $700 billion stimulus plan. She revoked her endorsement of Bill McCollum in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign for adopting a hard line on immigration. She urged Gov. Rick Scott to prolong early-voting hours in 2012. She pounded Mitt Romney on his lackluster Hispanic outreach.
Navarro, who moved to Miami from Nicaragua when she was 8, has been a longtime Jeb Bush loyalist and was one of Marco Rubio’s early backers for the U.S. Senate. She lives in Coral Gables with her partner, Democratic fundraiser and Biltmore Hotel chief Gene Prescott. And she’s a prominent holdover from the “Never Trump” movement that tried to stop Trump from winning the GOP nomination.
In August, Navarro slammed fellow Miamian Helen Aguirre Ferré, the Republican National Committee’s Hispanic communications director who is also of Nicaraguan descent, for defending Trump after spending much of the primary opposing him.
“I’m old enough to remember when you used to tweet against Donald Trump!” Navarro said. “I’m old enough to remember when you used to be as offended as I am by the things Donald Trump used to say! That was before he was the nominee, before you had an RNC job!”
Navarro’s profile has skyrocketed during the campaign: The New York Times profiled her last year after she let it slip that Bush had told her he’d misheard an interviewer who asked him about the Iraq War. The Times Sunday Magazine featured her in a Q-and-A just last week.
“Her flaws are within the boundaries of the human race,” she said of Hillary Clinton. “Donald Trump’s flaws are somewhere in the Martian category.”
Earlier Friday night, before any Republicans had rescinded their Trump endorsements, Navarro implored the GOP to abandon Trump and Trump to step aside.
“How many times does he get away with saying something misogynistic before we call him a misogynist? How many times does he get away with saying something sexist before we acknowledge it is he who is a sexist?” she said on another panel. “It is not enough for Republican leadership to disavow his comments, to condemn his words. It is time to condemn the man.
“It is time to ask him to step down. It is time to tell America he does not represent Republican values,” she continued lashing out. “He is a pig. He is vile. This is consistent behavior from him. The only difference is that now we have him on tape, and now we have him on video. But this man is not fit to be president of the United States. He is not fit to be the Republican nominee. He is not fit to be called a man.”
Navarro had been tearing into Trump for months, but she’s made repeated headlines in recent days, renewing an urgency among Republican Trump opponents as Election Day approaches.
During a segment Wednesday night, Navarro mentioned a response from Trump running mate Mike Pence during Tuesday’s vice-presidential debate.
“You whipped out that Mexican thing again,” Pence told rival Tim Kaine when Kaine mentioned Trump’s “rapists” line.
“Ana, for you to sit here and call Donald Trump a flat-out racist is outrageous,” Republican strategist Michael Caputo said.
“Well, let me do it again, and let me do it in two languages,” Navarro said. “Es un racista. He is a flat-out racist, and it’s what he’s played on for 16 months. He is a bigot. He is a racist. He is a misogynist. He has said horrible things about women. He has said horrible things about immigrants, about Hispanics. He has yet to say one good thing about immigrants.”
“Republicans need to speak up,” Navarro concluded, “and people need to know that not all Republicans are represented by the hostile, vile voice of Donald Trump.”