On Wednesday, Feb. 27, political strategist and commentator Ana Navarro stopped by The Forest as a part of the Drew Forum Lecture Series sponsored by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.
Navarro, who was born in Nicaragua and immigrated to the U.S. at age eight, is one of the leading Hispanic Republican voices in the United States. Navarro has served in many roles within Republican politics, including her service as the national Hispanic co-chair for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2012, she served as national Hispanic co-chair for then-Florida Governor Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign, before becoming the Director of Immigration Policy to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Today Navarro is best known by her work as a recurring political pundit on CNN, ABC, Telemundo and as a co-host of The View.
COURTESY OF KAREN MANCINELLI
Prior to the Forum, in an interview with The Acorn, Navarro recounted what drew her to working with the Republican Party. “[At the time]... in the Republican Party in south Florida, there were a lot of very inclusive leaders, there were a lot of Latinos and Hispanics involved and it was a big tent where there were a lot of people who were traditionally from the Democratic base that were part of the Miami Republican Party.”
On whether or not she thought the party had changed since then, Navarro expressed her dismay for what she believes the party has become. “I’ve seen Republicans attacking John McCain, a national war hero who was battling terminal cancer, or attacking Mitt Romney or attacking the Bushes,” she said. “This is a Republican Party that has compromised its traditional values in order to accomodate a president who has no values.”
“I almost couldn’t get any thoughts down in writing today because I’ve been so consumed by the Michael Cohen hearings,” quipped Navarro, an outspoken adversary of President Trump. “No wonder Scandal went off the air,” she joked in response to the testimony delivered by Cohen. “The Trump era oversight hearings have ruined scripted TV political drama. There is nothing Shonda Rhimes could come up with that could match the craziness we are living through today.”
The main focus of Navarro’s lecture was the eroding political discourse leading to hyper-partisanship in today’s America. “This political environment has brought out a situation where civil political disagreement and debate and just respecting diversity of thought has become impossible,” she said.
Another major focus of Navarro’s lecture was her emphasis on the need for diversity of opinions. “When we think of diversity, we think of race or gender or orientation,” she said. “But we lose the aspect of what diversity of thought means.” Positing that the problem is not merely diversifying what people look like, but what people are thinking and taking and saying. “Too often we surround ourselves with people who agree with us and read opinions that we already believe.”
On the topic of declared Democratic candidates for 2020, Navarro mentioned some positives she sees in Kamala Harris, saying that she is engaging and “has humor but is smart.” Navarro took aim at the candidates running from the further left side of the spectrum, skewering Elizabeth Warren’s Native American DNA test comment by saying, “This microphone is probably more Cherokee than her.” Of Bernie Sanders, Navarro said her silver lining was that “at least it means more Larry David on SNL.” Navarro expressed support for the yet-to-announce former Vice President Joe Biden, stating that he was “capable of normal human emotions and empathy.”
Navarro was the fourth speaker of this years Drew Forum joining the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe––Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough––, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead and Former CIA Director John Brennan. This years Lecture Series will conclude on April 9, with former Ohio Governor and 2016 GOP presidential primary finalist John Kasich.