Miami Mayor Explains Uyghur Whiff: I Didn’t Know the Pronunciation

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Guy Benson: Joining us now is the mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president ahead of the 2024 election. And Mr. Mayor, welcome to the show.

Mayor Suarez: Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be with you, guy.

Guy Benson: So I just want to start with this. One of my great friends and mentors is Hugh Hewitt. I know you were on his show this morning. He asked you a question about  Uyghurs and China kind of drew a blank there. Have you done some homework on the Uyghurs since then?

Mayor Suarez: Yeah, I mean, I’ve I have. I knew about the wider issue. I just had always heard it as UGA, and maybe that was a mistake that I had, you know, in terms of how it was pronounced. And so he got me on that and I and I apologize. You know, it’s certainly something that I should have known the right English pronunciation of it. And it’s it’s just not something that I had heard at that moment. But certainly I was aware of what was going on and what has been going on for years in China, repressing that Muslim population. So, yes, absolutely.

Guy Benson: So let’s just start with a very basic question that I think a lot of Republican voters might have. People listening to this program. They’re thinking to themselves, okay, Miami’s doing well, Florida’s doing well. We’ve got two guys from Florida already running for president. Here’s this other person. He’s the mayor down there. Seems like the city’s flourishing. But why is the next step for him the presidency? What’s your pitch to Republican voters for why they should make you a presidential nominee?

Mayor Suarez: My picture is simple. It’s because I’m uniquely qualified to do the job. When you look at what are the major national issues, The first one, of course, is inflation. We have a situation where the poor are getting poor in this country through rising interest rates and rising inflation. Most people have their money in bank accounts and they’re losing purchasing power and they’re also having to pay more cost of borrowing. And Democrats are supposed to be for the poor. And so I’m the only candidate that has reduced a budget by 20%, faced a fiscal crisis head on. And we have the exact same percentage deficit in our federal budget. The courage that it takes to make those cuts and the skill set that it takes to create the compromises to make those cuts doesn’t depend on the number of zeros. I can guarantee you that. And no one else has done that in the entire field. Then you look at an issue like immigration, and I don’t think anybody can convince anyone that a Republican Hispanic president wouldn’t be the best person in a position to deal with this multi-decade multi administration problem, which, you know, is creating so much chaos in our country from the border to, you know, an irrational legal immigration policy to figuring out what we do with China that’s creating poverty in our hemisphere, that’s creating more immigration pressure to dealing with the undocumented and illegals that are in our country. I think there just isn’t a better person to deal with that than someone who has a record of solving problems and someone who is a Hispanic Republican, which I think would be why.

Guy Benson: You think that matters. Just just to ask you, why do you think that matters and makes you uniquely qualified?

Mayor Suarez: I think it matters because a large percentage of the people who are coming into this country illegally are of of Latin background. I think Democrats have been completely deficient in their messaging to that population by calling them black Mex, which I don’t think resonates, or by saying that there are as unique as San Antonio Tacos, which is what the first lady said when she went to Texas. You know, I don’t think that that connects. And I think that if you can connect on that issue, I think you boogeyman the issue as well in this part that you know, that all Hispanics are going to become Democrats. I think, you know, Hispanics are trending Republican. We have to continue that trend. And having a leader who looks like them, who can speak to them, who understands the nuances of those cultures, I think motivates them more. And then the third issue is, is China and the looming and increasing threat that is both. National security threat and an economic threat. And there is no candidate in the field that has built an ecosystem around the next generation of technology. What we’ve done in our city is we have taken advantage of a tsunami of opportunity by reducing taxes to its lowest level, and we have double digit growth. We also have the highest surplus and the highest fund balance, meaning in the city of Miami. We have to balance our budget and we’ve accumulated the most savings in our history where the highest bond rating in our history. So in the midst of the debt ceiling debate. We were actually getting an upgrade by Standard and Poor’s on our credit rating. So I think these are important factors because they demonstrate a track record of success. I think anyone who needs me sees me as an exciting, inspirational and aspirational voice in the party. And I think we’ve worked incredibly divided as a country. And I think we need a presidential personality that can bring us together.

Guy Benson: Speaking of your city specifically, you go back to 2016. Donald Trump lost your county, Miami-Dade County, by 30 points to Hillary Clinton. Deep, deep blue. You fast forward to 2020 and it was a lot closer. Trump lost it, but was much more competitive against Joe Biden. Two years after that, Ron DeSantis not only won Miami-Dade County, he won it by double digits. Talk about that political evolution that you’re seeing in your backyard. What’s driving that?

Mayor Suarez: Well, I would say it wasn’t just the governor. It was also Senator Rubio won by double digits. So this is this was an across the board shift from plus 34 Democrats in 2016. The year before I got elected, I was elected the next year by 85%. I was reelected in 21 by 80%. And I implemented a series of policies that demonstrated to our people that Republican and conservative economic policies work, that keeping taxes low, keeping people safe and leaning into innovation works. So you have to you know, you can’t just be good at that rhetoric. You have to be good at results. And that’s what I’ve shown. You know, when you juxtapose it with, let’s say, Jacksonville, where the governor just endorsed a mayoral candidate on the Republican side, obviously, who lost to a Democrat by four points, Lenny Curry, who was a prior mayoral candidate, won by 24 points. So in the governor’s congressional district after his endorsement, there was a 28 point swing for the Democrats. So I think in Miami, what we’ve done is we have proven to people that if you if you take government out of people’s lives, if you use the limited resources they give you efficiently and effectively, and if you focus on building the economy, that’s what’s created. We’re number one in wage growth. We have the lowest unemployment in America and we’re number one in tech job growth, which are the jobs of the future. Number one in Gen X tech worker growth as well.

Guy Benson: We have a lot of people listening to the show right now who are Trump supporters. They voted for him multiple times. They are leaning towards or dedicated to vote for him again. Why should people vote for you? Why would you be a better nominee for the Republicans than the frontrunner Donald Trump?

Mayor Suarez: Yeah, I look, I think the question people have to ask themselves is what do they want their country to be and who do they want in their leaders? I can tell you what I offered. What I offer is an inspirational, aspirational choice of someone who can unify the country or someone who they can be proud of and their kids can emulate, hopefully. And I want to go back to a time when that was the standard and the expectation in our country. And so I don’t I don’t begrudge them for supporting the former president. I think the former president had a good four years of good policies. I think he tapped into wisely a frustration and anger that people feel from a mainstream media that oftentimes belittles them, belittles their issues, and they feel ignored by the establishment. And I think the former president did a phenomenal job and continues to this day doing a good job of tapping into that resentment and anger. I want to take that resentment and anger and I want to channel it into something that can create prosperity for the maximum number of Americans.

Guy Benson: Do you think it would be a mistake to nominate him?

Mayor Suarez: No, I don’t think it would necessarily be a mistake to nominate him. I’m the one that’s running for president. So I would I would hope that people would vote for me. And I think that would be, you know, the choice that I would advocate for. And I would ask them to go on my website that Francis Suarez dot com and donate just a dollar because I need to get to a 40,000 contribution threshold to be able to continue to have this conversation on the debate stage. And so look, I think that people should choose me. I’ve set, you know, my unique qualifications are for the job that I believe no other candidate possesses. But, you know, I don’t begrudge them for supporting the former president at all.

Guy Benson: The person in second place in the polls is your governor, the governor of Florida. And you took a bit of a swipe at him a few minutes ago. Do you think it would be a mistake for the party to nominate him?

Mayor Suarez: Well, I don’t think I took a swipe at him. I just saw the facts from that. Those are the facts of his congressional district. And these are the facts that I represent. So I just want it to be clear, because sometimes people say, well, maybe it was someone else’s policies that created the dynamic that we’re seeing in Dade County. And that’s a fair argument. Look, I like I said, I try to keep the conversation on my candidacy, on the things that I believe in, the things that I stand for. And I understand the desire because of the fact that the president right now is in first place in the governors and second place to want to draw the conversation back to them. I totally get it. But I want to give voters an option. I want to give voters a choice of something that’s different and something that they can gravitate towards.

Guy Benson: It’s Pride Month. You may or may not know I happen to be gay. You have taken a different approach to a large extent than many other Republicans on LGBT issues. Not surprising if you know the community down there. There’s a very vibrant gay scene in Miami. What’s your view on that as a conservative, as a Republican? And what do you say to conservative voters who feel like maybe some of the pride stuff is going too far? How do you try to balance your view and the sentiment nationally of a lot of conservative leaning voters on these questions?

Mayor Suarez: Well, I think you kind of alluded to it at the beginning of the interview. Miami is an incredibly diverse city where I think ranked the most diverse city in the country. And it’s something that we lean into the fact that, you know, we have a thriving LGBT community and our city is is something that we consider to be a strength. And, you know, and, you know, my philosophy is that government shouldn’t be so concerned with what consenting adults do. I do think that, you know, there is some things that concern me. I mean, we saw the viral videos of people that were displaying themselves newly, you know, things that we wouldn’t let our homeless do right in our city. Because if you’re doing certain things and exposing yourself in certain ways in front of children in particular, that’s not something that we that we allow in our city. You know, we’re a city of law and order. And so we we uphold the law and we just don’t think that there should be separate laws for four separate classes of people. We think everyone should follow the same set of rules and act in a decent, respectable manner, that the LGBT community has a right to express itself and its rights. But I also think that they don’t have a right to necessarily infringe on the rights of others or expose children to things that they shouldn’t be, shouldn’t be exposed to.

Guy Benson You know, equal treatment, not special treatment, I think is one way to put that. And I certainly agree with that point. Mayor Francis Suarez is the 43rd mayor in the city of Miami, a city that has just been going gangbusters in recent years. And he is running for president of the United States as a Republican. Mr. Mayor, thank you for your time today.

Mayor Suarez: Thanks so much, Guy