FACT CHECK: Did Adam Laxalt Say It Was ‘Good News’ That Hispanic Small Businesses Were Closing?
Nevada Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto claimed in an online ad released Oct. 5 that Republican Senate candidate and former Attorney General Adam Laxalt said it was “good news” that Hispanic small businesses were closing.
From the broader context of Laxalt’s remarks, it appears he claimed that the “good news” was that the lack of business reopenings proved Democratic policies were harming the economic recovery from COVID-19. He was not arguing that it was good news that small businesses were closing in general.
Cortez Masto and Laxalt are running for Nevada’s Senate seat in a virtually-tied race with Laxalt in the lead by two percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics. The Cortez Matso campaign and its allies has put out press releases and videos claiming that Laxalt it was “good news” for him politically that Hispanic small businesses never reopened.
“Adam Laxalt said it was ‘good news’ that small Latino businesses suffered during the pandemic because he thought it would benefit him politically,” the ad states.
The quote is taken out of context. Laxalt appeared on the “Steak for Breakfast” podcast in January 2022, where he discussed his campaign, former President Donald Trump and other topics.
During the podcast, he commented on the loss of jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that he proclaimed the state shut down, which led to major job loss in Las Vegas and other areas.
“All of those strip jobs are lost. And so I’m thinking, all right, well, finally, all these voters are gonna blame the Democrats for these terrible lockdown policies, right,” Laxalt said. “Well, you guys may remember the Democrats message at the time was, [it’s] Donald Trump’s fault. He’s not doing enough for COVID.”
“I think the good news is that now we’re a year [in it], a lot of those jobs never came back, a lot of those Hispanic small businesses never reopened, and guess who is in charge,” Laxalt said.
The Cortez Masto ad omits his later words, though, where he expands on this “good news.” (RELATED: Viral Video Claims To Show Joe Biden Using Race To Justify Sentencing Disparity For Crack And Cocaine)
“We have a Democrat governor, a Democrat House, a Democrat assembly, a Democrat President, Democrat Senate, Democrat House of Representatives. It’s 100% their fault,” Laxalt said. “We’re seeing an awakening here. I think people are really, really fed up.”
He then says that it is “good news” that “while some of this is doom and gloom…boy, are people coming around.”
“You know, people are really waking up to the, all of these hypocrites and all the different rules they play by, then they expect all of us to play by, and they know that it’s hurting our kids,” Laxalt adds.
Laxalt’s broader argument is that he believes Americans are now blaming Democratic policies for economic harm. He further added Democrats could no longer blame Trump or Republicans as their party are in control of the state and national governments, to which voters place most of the blame.
“Cortez Masto is once again demonstrating how little respect she has for Nevadans by deceptively editing audio to spread misinformation and lie about Adam Laxalt,” Courtney Holland, Laxalt’s communication director, told Check Your Fact via email. (RELATED: FACT CHECK: Is Dr. Oz Not Registered To Vote In Pennsylvania?)
“The unedited audio makes it obvious that he said the good news about Democrats being in complete control in Washington and in Nevada is that Nevadans can clearly see Biden and Cortez Masto are responsible for wrecking the economy, hurting small businesses and Latino workers, and causing record high inflation and gas prices,” Holland said.
A spokesperson for the Cortez Masto campaign said, “Laxalt said it was ‘good news’ Hispanic small businesses never reopened because voters would ‘blame the Democrats’ and the media could not ‘blame the pandemic on Republicans.'”
The spokesperson further argued that “as the quote below shows, Laxalt was explicitly arguing that ‘economic harm’ (aka Hispanic small businesses closing) was good news because the opposing political party would shoulder the blame” before pointing to Laxalt’s comments about Democrats being in control of the state and national governments.