A pro-Trump CNN commentator accused CNN of benching him Monday over a video where he defended the president’s comments regarding the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally.
Steve Cortes, formally a member of President Trump’s Hispanic advisory council, announced Monday that his time at CNN had “just ended.” He made the comments on “The Steve Cortes Show” and later spoke with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham about the allegations.
Cortes told Ingraham that CNN had a problem with an August PragerU video where he defended Trump’s “very fine people on both sides” comment regarding the deadly Charlottesville rally. The former CNN commentator argued in the August video that Trump was not speaking about the neo-Nazis who attended the rally.
He said this video resulted in him being “benched” by CNN as a commentator and added the move did not come as a surprise. Cortes is currently a spokesperson and senior adviser at America First Action PAC. (RELATED: ‘Why Not Use This Opportunity To Say We’re Done?’ — Laura Ingraham Presses Trump On Leaving Iraq For Good)
“Unfortunately Laura when you look at corporate media in this country, they have overwhelmingly forsaken journalism in favor of narrative promotion, and the foremost narrative they want to promote about the president is that he is a racist, and that those of us who support him are racist as well,” Cortes told Ingraham on Monday.
“For committing what was the unpardonable sin, at least in the eyes of CNN, for declawing that deception that they continued to push, they put me on the bench,” Cortes added. “They took me off the air after I did a PragerU video that got 6 million hits detailing exactly why the Charlottesville myth was a deception.”
Cortes said that he wasn’t given a written explanation for the decision, but that the network told him “it was directly because of the Charlottesville video.” He stood by his PragerU video, adding that “we did strong work at improving the truth of the matter.”
Cortes told the Daily Caller that stories claiming the network fired him are incorrect.
“Stories that I was fired are incorrect,” Cortes said Tuesday. “I was ‘benched’ by CNN following the Prager U video, and only appeared once on air during the last 6 months of my contract which just expired.”
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller. (RELATED: CNN Reporter Complains About Satirical Article Getting As Many Engagements As His Outlet)