Ratings versus principles? In the TV business, as we know, ratings usually have a significant edge.
US Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Illin.), though, is not backing down in his fight against the media Goliaths that are NBC and Donald Trump, the leading Republican presidential candidate whose every burp seems to make headlines.
Trump is scheduled to host “Saturday Night Live” on Nov. 7, a gig that will inevitably draw big numbers and next-day viral attention for the NBC series. But Gutiérrez has been passionately campaigning to get NBC and parent company Comcast to “disinvite” the billionaire.
On Tuesday, Gutiérrez wrote in a letter to the companies that letting Trump host “SNL” represents “a level of endorsement that says to America that every hateful and racist thing Donald Trump has said since the moment he launched his campaign is acceptable and no big deal.”
Trump has focused on illegal immigration during his play for the White House, claiming that Mexico is sending its worst criminals to the States. “He said Mexicans are rapists, criminals and drug-dealers,” Gutiérrez wrote, “and to be clear, when he said Mexicans are those things, he was tarring all Latinos and all immigrants.”
Talking about Gutiérrez’s letter on Fox News, another GOP hopeful, Sen. Marco Rubio, suggested that Gutiérrez should simply not watch the show. “It’s on at 11:35 on Saturday nights,” Rubio said, “and there are plenty of other things you can watch – or you can just go to bed early.”
On Wednesday, Gutiérrez stepped up his fight with a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives arguing against Trump’s “SNL” appearance. “I haven’t been kidnapped by the politically correct police,” he noted, before making the heart of his case. “If Donald Trump had said gays and lesbians were murderers and raping Americans,” he said, “would he get to host the show?”
In the same vein, Gutiérrez asked, “What if he said black people were murderers, rapists, and drug-dealers, would you still pitch skits with Donald Trump in some lighthearted banter?”
His final pitch was directed to the Canadian-born creator of “SNL.” “I just want to say one last thing to producer Lorne Michaels,” Gutiérrez concluded. “I wonder, if he had said Canadians were rapists, murderers, and drug dealers, would you be inviting him on ‘SNL’?”
Interestingly, NBC decided to “end its business relationship” with Trump in July, because of “recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants.” But yeah, that was months before the two Republican primary debates drew some 24 million viewers each, largely thanks to the Trump factor.
Watch Gutiérrez on the House floor: