Former Trump campaign adviser says white male governor could win because he looks like a president

Conservatives are willing to concede some Democrats are president material... if they have the white look.

CNN pays David Urban to come on and defend Donald Trump. He thinks only white men look presidential.
CNN pays David Urban to come on and defend Donald Trump. He thinks only white men look presidential. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon)

A former Donald Trump campaign adviser and Trump’s handpicked American Battle Monuments Commission chairman says he is most worried about Democrats nominating a straight white male governor in 2020 because he “looks the part” of a president.

CNN pays David Urban as a contributor mostly so he can defend Trump on its programs. On Wednesday morning, he joined a panel discussing the previous night’s Democratic primary debate and opined that while he once feared former Vice President Joe Biden the most, it is Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) who now scares him as a threat to Trump’s reelection.

“Steve Bullock frightens me,” Urban announced. “Listen, Steve Bullock will catch fire. He had a great performance. He looks the part. He sounds reasonable. He’s a very bright guy, and he’s governed. He’s won in a state Trump has won in.”

Host Poppy Harlow seized on Urban’s focus on Bullock’s appearance and pressed him on the point.

“When you say ‘looks the part,’ what do you mean? He’s another white man?”

“He looks like cast from Hollywood. So yeah. He looks like Steve Pullman… Bill Pullman in Independence Day!”

Another member of the panel, Democratic strategist Maria Cardona offered her own translation of his comment: “He looks like somebody you would vote for.”

“Okay, sorry. Make me bad. But he looks what Hollywood casts as a president.”

While Urban’s understanding of Hollywood representation is probably an accurate understanding of the landscape in 1996, when Pullman played President Thomas J. Whitmore on screen, it suggests perhaps he has missed Jimmy Smits, Geena Davis, Dennis Haysbert, Cherry Jones, Jamie Foxx, Robin Wright, Lynda Carter, Morgan Freeman, Alfre Woodward, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus also playing presidents. And it certainly suggests he did not notice that Sela Ward played the first female president of the United States in the 2016 sequel Independence Day: Resurgence.


It also may explain his subsequent suggestion that the “clear winner” of Tuesday’s Democratic debate was, in fact, Republican Donald Trump — who did not participate but is indeed a white man.

CNN analyst John Avlon, himself a former Republican speechwriter, laughed at this assessment, noting, “He’s contractually obligated to say that.”

Urban is not the only conservative who has espoused the belief that the Democrats who might pose the biggest threat to Trump are white men. Former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) called Biden “the one Dem candidate who appeals to the white working-class voters,” while others have offered similar predictions about Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana and Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman from Texas.