Jeremy Hunt, 52, is currently vying against Boris Johnson, 55, to be the Conservative leader and the next British Prime Minister, with the results due to be announced in the coming days.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast today, host Munchetty, 44, wanted to get an idea of what Hunt thought of President Donald Trump’s, 73, recent tweets which didn’t explicitly name but made reference to four female members of the US congress from minority backgrounds to “go back”. Trump wrote the women: “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe.”
Muchetty put to Hunt: “You’ve always made very clear throughout this leadership campaign, you want to show how open you are to answering questions.
“And I just want to bring up Donald Trump’s recent remarks in which he told four US congress women to and I quote ‘go back.’ Were those remarks racist?”
Hunt replied: “I’ve said I’m not going to answer that question and so you have found one of the very few questions in this campaign I’m not going to answer and I’ll tell you why Naga.
“It’s because I’m our diplomatic in chief. I’m, responsible for our transatlantic relationship. I happen to believe it is the relationship which has done more to keep the world safe and secure than any other over the 70 odd years.”
The Conservative leadership candidate did voice his opinions on the matter at hand, telling Munchetty: “So I absolutely, profoundly disagree with this comments.
“I’ve got three half Chinese children. I’ve said that my kids who were born on the NHS, who have British passports, if anyone told them to go back to China, I would be utterly appalled.
“I would find it totally offensive and I would totally condemn any politician who said those comments.”
However, he stipulated: “But I’m not going to use the ‘R’ word because I do have to be responsible for that relationship between the UK and the USA and I think it would be damaging to that if I used it.”
Shocked by the Prime Ministerial candidate’s reluctance to express the tweets were “racist”, Munchetty remarked: “I’m quite surprised you’ve referred to it as the ‘R’ word.
“Surely you can be diplomatic and call out racism at the same time?”
Hunt replied: “I think I have called out those comments which are totally and utterly unacceptable and offensive.
“But I’m not going to use the word you’re asking me to use for the reasons I’ve just explained.”
The US House of Representatives have condemned the comments made by the President, with the tweets in question referring to Congress members Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, who are known as The Squad.
Since his string on tweets on Sunday, President Trump has taken to Twitter and told his 62 millions followers: “Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”
Munchetty commented: “Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism.
“Now, I’m not accusing anyone of anything here but you know what certain phrases mean,” before going on to stipulate how many people would be feeling of the President’s remarks.
“I imagine a lot of people in this country will be feeling absolutely furious that a man in that position feels it’s okay to skirt the lines with using language like that.
“He’s in a responsible position,” the presenter continued.