Michael Cohen, special counsel for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, said during a Nov. 10 CNN interview that undocumented immigrants should be referred to as “illegal immigrants.”
The Daily Caller noted the exchange between Cohen and Jake Tapper on CNN’s “The Lead.”
“You talk about them as undocumented aliens. They’re not,” Cohen told Tapper. “They’re illegal immigrants. Why is it that we have a problem in calling somebody exactly what they are? They snuck across the border. They shouldn’t be here in the first place.”
“Now that’s not to say we don’t want them, but they have to come into this country, as Mr. Trump will say, again and again and again, legally,” he added.
Tapper had asked Cohen about plans for a “deportation force” Trump mentioned in an interview earlier that same day.
“You’re going to have a deportation force, and you’re going to do it humanely,” Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” discussing his plans to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.
The plan, he said, would resemble a program used during the Eisenhower administration in which 1.5 million were deported in buses.
“Look, we have to do what we have to do, and Ike did it and other people have done it,” the billionaire real estate developer said.
He also said he wants to build a wall at the country’s southern border.
“It’s going to be a Trump wall,” he said. “It’s going to be a real wall. And it’s going to stop people and it’s going to be good.”
He went on to say that those who want to come back after being deported could do so if they do it legally.
“There’s going to be a big beautiful nice door,” he said. “People are going to come in and they’re going to come in legally. But we have no choice. Otherwise, we don’t have a country. We don’t even know how many people. We don’t know if it’s 8 million or if it’s 20 million.”
Cohen echoed many of those same points in his interview with Tapper, but he was unwavering in his assertion that entering the country illegally should have consequences.
“The bottom line is if you sneak into the country, you don’t belong here,” he said. “That’s an illegal act. Mr. Trump’s position is you must leave. We want you to come back through this big beautiful door in this border that he’s going to talk about.”
Tapper suggested some use the adjective “undocumented” rather than “illegal” because “some of the people in this country were brought here as children and therefore they didn’t necessarily commit the illegal act.”
“But whatever you want to call them,” Tapper told Cohen. “And by all means you call them whatever you want to call them, Michael.”