CNN political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes on Saturday criticized Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine for speaking in Spanish, saying it contrasted with this week’s Republican convention in which “I didn’t have to get a translator.”
Hughes, who supports Donald Trump, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “CNN Newsroom” that Kaine’s appearance with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Miami — in which her VP pick frequently spoke in Spanish — highlighted the differences between the Republican and Democratic parties.
“What Mr. Trump did, he spoke in a language all Americans can understand — that is English,” Hughes said. “I didn’t have to get a translator for anything that was going on at the (Republican National Convention) this week. And I’m hoping I’m not going to have to start brushing up on my ‘Dora the Explorer’ to understand some of the speeches given this week.”
Dora, the heroine of a Nickelodeon cartoon, is a Latina and occasionally speaks in Spanish on the show.
Hughes didn’t mention Kentucky State Sen. Ralph Alvarado, who spoke in Spanish in parts of his speech at the Republican convention on Wednesday.
She added that she appreciates Kaine being “multicultural” by speaking Spanish, adding that Trump’s wife, Melania, who has said she speaks five languages, is also multilingual.
CNN political commentator and Clinton supporter Bakari Sellers quickly blasted Hughes for the remarks.
“Last week, we saw the demonization of certain cultures in this community, even comparing Spanish to ‘Dora the Explorer,'” he said.
Hughes later walked back her remarks.
“I never meant 2 cause hurt rather attempt 2 reference a cute tool I learned/taught Spanish 2 my own children obviously failed. I was wrong,” Hughes tweeted.
Trump has been critical of candidates for speaking Spanish in the past, at one point calling on former primary rival Jeb Bush to speak English while he was in the US.
A 2013 Gallup survey found 72% of Americans say it is essential that immigrants living in the US learn to speak English.