CNN's Erin Burnett Asks Trump About 'Smaller-tent' Social-Issues GOP

CNN's new prime-time host Erin Burnett pressed Donald Trump about the Republican Party being a "smaller tent party" because of its conservatism on social issues. "Do you have any frustrations that the Republican Party still ends up defining itself by abortion stance or gay marriage?" she asked Trump.

Burnett even quoted rising star Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, who said the GOP must return to a "big tent" party status, or one more inclusive of social moderates and liberals.

Burnett's question is reflective of a larger trend in the mainstream media to criticize Republicans for not being more supportive of gay marriage, among other social issues. The media also likes to warn the GOP that it ignores these "moderate" voters at its own political peril.

Of course, it's ironic for CNN to put the heat on Republicans for being anti-gay marriage while they themselves try to appear as the moderate cable news network, and yet run a two-hour prime-time documentary on two gay men trying to have a biological child of their own.

Burnett also highlighted the debate over Mitt Romney's Mormon beliefs, as to whether or not they are Christian, as an example of the GOP being not inclusive enough. "And one of the frustrations that some people have is that it's been – become a smaller tent party in part because of its focus on social issues," she told Trump.

Trump in turn answered that he respects Mitt Romney as a "good man" and that he himself is Presbyterian, and that the attacks on Romney's Mormonism were out-of-bounds.

"And I happen to be Presbyterian. I happen to be Protestant and I understand and I know a lot of the people that are even saying negative things, and they like me a lot and I like them a lot, but I think it was unfair."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on October 10 at 7:34 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

[7:34]

BURNETT: Do you think – Chris Christie's talked about the Republican Party needing to go back to being a "big tent" party. And one of the frustrations that some people have is that it's been – become a smaller tent party in part because of its focus on social issues. And just this week, you have this whole discussion over are Mormons Christians and the, you know, all of a sudden religion comes into it again. Do you have any frustrations that the Republican Party still ends up defining itself by abortion stance or gay marriage? Or –

TRUMP: Well, I think that was much more true four years ago than it is today and it's still true to a certain extent. But I think it's now about jobs and the economy. I really believe that even people pretty strong on the social issues are really looking – and that's why I hated to see what's going on about the whole Mormon thing, because Mitt Romney is a good man. I think it's unfair how that came out and the way it came out.

And I happen to be Presbyterian. I happen to be Protestant and I understand and I know a lot of the people that are even saying negative things, and they like me a lot and I like them a lot, but I think it was unfair.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014