2024 GOP Candidate Has Stunning Blunder During Live Radio Interview: 'The What?'


Republican presidential candidate and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez needs to make a whole lot of headlines to get any attention in the 2024 presidential race. Unfortunately, the headlines he made this week probably weren’t the kind he was looking for.

On Tuesday, during a radio interview on The Hugh Hewitt Show, Suarez demonstrated a surprising lack of knowledge about the Uyghur ethnic group and the human rights abuses they face in China, according to Fox News.

During the interview, Hewitt asked Suarez if he would be addressing the Uyghurs in his campaign. Suarez’s response was a baffled, “The what?” Clearly confused, he sought clarification from Hewitt: “What’s a Uyghur?”

The Uyghurs are a Turkic ethnic group native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northern China, who have been subjected to alleged human rights abuses by the Chinese Communist Party. The severity of the situation and the ongoing debate surrounding it make it a crucial topic for candidates to address.

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According to a 2022 U.S. State Department report, over one million individuals from Uyghur, ethnic Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and other Muslim minority groups have been detained by the Chinese government in internment camps.

Inside these camps, reports suggest that detainees are subjected to various forms of mistreatment, including torture, cruel and inhumane treatment, physical and sexual abuse, forced labor, and even death, according to a CNN report.

In June 2020, President Donald Trump signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act into law. The act aimed to hold accountable Chinese officials involved in human rights violations against the Uyghurs and called for imposing sanctions on them. This legislative measure demonstrated a clear recognition of the severity of the situation and sought to create a framework for taking action.

While the Trump administration took significant steps to address the Uyghur crisis, the issue remains a complex and ongoing challenge. The allegations of mass surveillance, arbitrary detentions, forced labor, and cultural assimilation continue to draw international attention and condemnation.

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In 2019, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referred to Beijing’s actions in Xinjiang as “the stain of the century.”

Suarez’s lack of knowledge on a matter of global importance led Hewitt to advise him, “You’ve got to get smart on that.”

But later in the interview, Suarez dug his grave a little deeper when he chuckled, “You gave me homework. I’ll look at what’d you call it … a Weeble?”

One of his staff should have warned him that human rights abuses on a million interred humans are no laughing matter.

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“The Uyghurs. You really need to know about the Uyghurs, mayor. You’ve got to talk about it every day, OK?” Hewitt responded.

Seeming to realize his mistake, Suarez pledged to educate himself, saying, “I will search Uyghurs. I’m a good learner. I’m a fast learner.”

But the damage had already been done.

Shortly after the interview, Hewitt tweeted, “Mayor @FrancisSuarez was pretty good for a first conversation on air about national security — except for the huge blind spot on the Uyghurs. ‘What’s a Uyghur?’ is not what I expect people running for president to say when asked about the ongoing genocide in China.”

Twitter users were brutal, bringing to mind a similar incident in 2016 when then-Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson invoked scorn after he responded to a question about the city of Aleppo, the region at the center of Syria’s civil war and refugee crisis, by asking, “What is Aleppo?”

Suarez’s lack of knowledge about the ongoing human rights abuses in the greatest threat to our national security raises concerns about candidates who lack essential knowledge on critical issues diluting the voting pool and diverting attention from more qualified contenders.

Presidential candidates are expected to possess a comprehensive understanding of domestic and international matters, enabling them to make informed decisions and effectively address the challenges faced by the nation.

While it remains to be seen how Suarez will respond to this criticism — and whether he will educate himself on the Uyghur issue and other issues of national importance — it calls the seriousness of his candidacy even more into question.

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Rachel Emmanuel has served as the director of content on a Republican congressional campaign and writes content for a popular conservative book franchise.
Rachel M. Emmanuel has served as the Director of Content on a Republican Congressional campaign and writes for a popular Conservative book franchise.