Political News

Dinesh D'Souza: Trump 'can take it and can return a punch'

Posted June 5, 2018 7:54 a.m. EDT

— Conservative filmmaker and author Dinesh D'Souza said Tuesday that President Donald Trump, in some ways, has not raised the tone of the rhetoric coming out of the White House, but argued that Republicans wanted a standard-bearer who can take it and dish it back.

"No, I wouldn't say -- in some ways he hasn't," D'Souza told CNN's "New Day" co-anchor Alisyn Camerota. "But I think he is also a product of an environment that's very destructive."

Camerota asked D'Souza, a Trump supporter, if he thinks the President is setting the tone.

"No, because I think that Republicans have said basically in the past we nominated Boy Scouts like (Mitt) Romney, people who were squeaky clean, and the left launched such attacks on these people that they ended up looking like Lucifer," D'Souza said. "We're finally going to appoint a tough guy who can take it and can return a punch."

He added, "And so, Trump, yes, I think he's much more in the mud if you might say. And I regret that this is the environment we now live in, but we do."

He also defended some of his past controversial statements about former President Barack Obama in saying that there's been a "great degree of degradation of the White House."

In 2015, D'Souza called Obama a "boy" from the "ghetto," which critics said had racist overtones, after Obama was seen wielding a selfie stick and making funny faces in a BuzzFeed video to get Americans to sign up for health care.

"We have seen a great degree of degradation of the White House. This didn't start with Trump," D'Souza told CNN Tuesday. "It didn't start with Obama. It goes back to Clinton because I think there was a lowering of tone in the '90s."

Last week, Trump granted a full pardon to D'Souza, arguing that D'Souza was "treated very unfairly by our government." D'Souza had pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating federal campaign finance laws after he was indicted on charges that he illegally used straw donors to contribute to a Republican Senate campaign.

"Obama & his stooges tried to extinguish my American dream & destroy my faith in America," D'Souza wrote in a tweet thanking Trump for "fully restoring both."

On Monday night, D'Souza claimed in an interview on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" that he "became suspicious that part of the reason I was being targeted" by the Obama administration at the time "was because I did something upsetting to a narcissistic president."