Ana Navarro on the post-Trump presidency era and what gives her hope for American politics
HOLLYWOOD, CA – MAY 05: Ana Navarro attends the 7th Annual Voice of Los Angeles Gay Choir? … [+]
Ana Navarro may be hilarious, but she’s not a joke. Born in Nicaragua, she escaped the Sandinistan Revolution as a child and immigrated to the United States with her family. The Miami resident has a doctorate in law, has advised on US presidential campaigns, and has been a Fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School.
She doesn’t take herself too seriously and has made numerous appearances on the legendary game show Jeopardy !. To make a point, Navarro pulled out an emery board once and began filing her nails – twice – in the middle of a prime-time CNN debate.
Today Navarro is a regular contributor to The View and serves as a political commentator for ABC, CNN and CNN en Español. In this interview, she shares her thoughts on the dangers of misinformation on social media, what is really happening to Republican support for former President Trump’s 2024 election campaign, and what gives her hope for the future of American political life.
This interview has been edited for the sake of clarity and brevity.
Recently you tested positive for Covid-19 on the day the Vice President was comes on “The View”. What was your first reaction?
We are tested practically every day on “The View”. There has never been a false positive result. The first thing that crossed my mind was to get Kamala Harris to safety, right? She is the Vice President of the United States. I won’t be the one to give Covid to the first female vice president. Under no circumstance. It’s not on my résumé.
So many Hispanic celebrities in this country tend to be entertainers. You are a serious Latina who does political analysis. It’s like there’s that extra weight-
Did you just tell me that I am carrying extra weight? [Laughs.]
What I mean is because you have this seriousness, do you ever feel responsible for advocating the point of view of the Latino community in a way that other celebrities in the community cannot?
I don’t feel obliged to take the viewpoint of the Latino community because I know enough about our community to know that there isn’t just one. We’re not a big blob doing groupthink. It would be incredible hubris and arrogance on my part to believe that I am speaking on behalf of the Latino community. I speak on my behalf.
Now I’ve learned how much it means to young Latinos to see people who look like them, what they sound like, and have similar experiences to them with platforms. I don’t compare myself to her in any way – but what it means to see Sonia Sotomayor in the Supreme Court. I am often stopped by young Latinos who tell me how inspired they are to see someone like this on national television. I have a duty to be proud of my heritage and experience as a Latina and an immigrant in this country. And it is my responsibility to try to open other doors.
There was so much misinformation on social media in general and about the immigrant diaspora in the 2020 elections in particular. How do you stand as a centrist?
The misinformation thing drives me crazy – and it worries me all the time because it really has an effect. Look, it affects elections. It has an impact on vaccinations and the health of our nation. It has implications for national security. It has implications for laws that are passed or not passed due to misperceptions resulting from misinformation.
So if there are people who want to believe that Bill and Hillary Clinton run a sex ring out of the basement of a pizzeria with no basement, can I help you? We need to keep the point: not everything you read is true, and you have some responsibility to do a little work and make sure what you read is true before you share it.
Ana Navarro attends Politicon at the Pasadena Convention Center on Sunday, August 30, 2017, in … [+]
Colin Young-Wolff / Invision / AP
What do your Republican friends tell you behind the scenes?
I have few Republican friends left who will publicly admit it. I met a longtime friend who’s on the plane to Washington in Congress. He said, ‘When you’re here, let’s get together.’ I said, ‘I’m going to ruin your reputation. You will lose your elementary school! ‘
Does the Republican Party Really Support Donald Trump as President in 2024?
Look, there are a lot of people who pretend to support Trump because of the consequences of not publicly supporting Trump. They fear Trump’s ability to affect primary outcomes.
Do you think Ted Cruz wants Trump to run? No, he doesn’t because he wants to run. You think Marco Rubio would like Trump to run for 2024? No, he doesn’t because he wants to run. And Rand Paul wants to run and Josh Hawley wants to run. But they have to pretend they are pretending – as long as Trump is pretending to run away – they have to pretend they are everything to Trump. Ron DeSantis – You think he doesn’t light candles every day of the week and say a novena so Trump won’t run so he can be the candidate? Of course it is.
But they know they can’t risk Trump’s wrath because Trump controls the Republican grassroots and Republican primary voters. And then, I think there are some Republicans who oppose it.
What surprised you most in the post-Trump presidency era?
I’m really surprised at how much control Donald Trump has over the Republican Party, to the point where they do things that are hideous and grotesque, like denying what happened on January 6th. For those of us who are from Latin America, what happened in Caracas happened something. But I wouldn’t expect anything like that in Washington, DC, the capital of the United States.
For Republicans to put their loyalty to Trump above the truth and above the law – rather than getting to the bottom and thoroughly investigating what on the 6th encouraged it and who went along with it? It’s a shame. It’s embarrassing. It una vergüenza. It is unforgivable. It is a lack of backbone in principle, conviction, and integrity that should be gross to all Americans. Because the protection of our democracy should not be partisan.
Do you think that following the false story that the election was stolen will have negative repercussions for the likes of Hawley, Rubio and Cruz?
You see, I’ve known Marco Rubio for a long time. I think he lost himself. He lost who he is, who he was and what he represented to people like me and other Latinos because he put his loyalty to Trump and his cowardly political ambitions above his principles.
At the end of the day, the American people can see through the lies, complicity and cowardice. I think they can see that it is indecent and unstatesmanlike to see these people cling to Trump and pretending that January 6th didn’t happen.
But the polls do not necessarily confirm that for those who follow the party line that the election was stolen had a negative consequence. What keeps you awake at night about the current state of US politics?
Nothing. I take melatonin.
What makes you optimistic about the state of American politics?
I speak at a lot of universities. Whenever I talk to young people, I feel better. They seem to be less concerned with labels and niche politics than we are. They care. You care more.
Some older people may say, “Climate change is a joke”. With young people, it’s hard to find someone who thinks it’s a joke and who doesn’t care about issues like climate change – and what they should because they will outlive us.
It gives me hope that César Chavez’s granddaughter will work in the west wing of the White House as senior adviser to the President of the United States. It is not there because it is a sign. Her name is Julie [Chávez] Rodríguez. She is there because she worked hard.
I made a few comments for Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón at an event in Washington. She is Dominican and came to this country when she was seven. She is the chief of staff to Jill Biden, the first lady. And she is about to – if she is ever confirmed by the Senate – as US ambassador to Spain.
That a little immigrant girl from the Dominican Republic can grow to such high positions that the granddaughter of César Chávez, a boycott boycott against winemakers, can grow up in the White House advising the President of the United States. There is much progress to be made, but we must also recognize and celebrate the progress made.
Listen to The Revolución Podcast episode with Ana Navarro with co-hosts Linda Lane Gonzalez, Kathryn Garcia Castro, Diego Lastra and Court Stroud on Apple Podcasts, iHeartMedia, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts or click here.