Bloomberg Politics editor Mark Halperin apologized on Monday for an April 30 interview with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in which he grilled Cruz about his Cuban-American heritage, which many conservatives saw as an aggressive attempt to discount that heritage.
Halperin first asked Cruz if he listed himself as an Hispanic when applying to college. "Oh sure, I've listed myself as Cuban-American. That's my heritage and my background," Cruz said.
He then asked if he liked Cuban food and Cuban music, but Cruz admitted to liking country music.
"We wanted to give you the opportunity to directly welcome your colleague, Sen. Sanders, to the race, and I'd like you to do it if you would en espanol," Halperin finished. Cruz declined and said he would "stick to English."
Many took to Twitter over the weekend to blast Halperin's interview, which they said was racist.
What Mark Halperin did is racism. Textbook racism. Not bias. Not a double standard. He humiliated a minority using his race. Racism. Period.— John Nolte (@NolteNC)May 10, 2015
"Sen. Cruz, to prove your Hispanic heritage, please put on this Frito Bandito costume. Now make little pistols out of your fingers..."— T. Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) May 10, 2015
Even the left-leaning ThinkProgress wrote a story calling out Halperin:
Halperin apologized Monday by saying he was not out to prove that Cruz is an "authentic Latino," but admitting that the "tone and timing" of the interview was off.
"I rushed through the questions, and that was a mistake — it led to poor tone and timing," Halperin said. "I also understand why some felt the questions were inappropriate."
"As for asking Senator Cruz to welcome Senator Sanders to the race in Spanish, that was meant to be the type of light-hearted banter that he's done with us before on the show," he added. "In no way was I asking Senator Cruz to 'prove' he was an 'authentic' Latino."
"I apologize to those that were offended, and to Senator Cruz, I promise that I will work to make the tone and questions better next time," he concluded.
My apology regarding a recent interview with Senator Ted Cruz. http://t.co/unovSDhchw— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) May 11, 2015