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In this image from video, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 17, 2020. (DNC via AP) In this image from video, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 17, 2020. (DNC via AP)

In this image from video, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., speaks during the first night of the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 17, 2020. (DNC via AP)

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher October 12, 2022

Cortez Masto’s Spanish ad twists Laxalt’s remarks on lost Hispanic jobs and businesses

If Your Time is short

  • Cortez Masto stripped context from an audio clip of remarks by Laxalt that she used in an ad.

  • Laxalt did not cheer the loss of jobs and Hispanic businesses during the pandemic. 

  • He expressed satisfaction that, in his view, voters eventually blamed Democrats for the losses.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., the first Latina elected to the U.S. Senate, claims that her Republican opponent cheered the loss of jobs and Latino businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her 15-second Spanish-language video ad begins with images of two blue-collar workers behind these words: "Adam Laxalt speaking about Nevada's Latino small businesses."

An audio clip of Laxalt speaking plays as his photo appears on the screen. He says in English (with Spanish captions): "I think the good news is that now we’re a year, a lot of those jobs never came back, a lot of those Hispanic small businesses never reopened."

Then words on the screen say: "Adam Laxalt is not on our side."

Reinforcing the claim is a caption below the video that has the same text that Cortez Masto posted with the ad on Facebook: 

"Adam Laxalt said it was ‘good news’ that Latino small businesses suffered during the pandemic because he thought it would benefit him politically. He is not fighting for Nevada, only for himself." 

Cortez Masto’s claim that Laxalt hailed the loss of jobs and Hispanic businesses is based on how she stripped away the context of his remarks.

Laxalt was cheering that, in his view, voters came around to blaming Democrats for the losses.

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund estimated in February that 16.6% of Nevada voters in the Nov. 8 election will be Latinos. 

The toss-up Nevada race could decide which political party controls the Senate, which is split 50-50.

Context of Laxalt’s remark

The Laxalt clip came from the Jan. 28 edition of the "Steak for Breakfast Podcast," which included an exchange showing that what Laxalt was happy about was not the loss of jobs and businesses, but what he said was voters’ recognition that Democratic policies had caused the losses.

We put in bold type the Laxalt remarks that were used in the ad.

Laxalt: "You think about how bizarre 2020 was —

Host: "Yeah."

Laxalt: "— that we have COVID crashing, you’ve got blue states that are basically not allowing (President Donald Trump) to visit and deliver a message, our Democrat governor (Steve Sisolak) shut down the state. And you know, I called as early as May (2020), that we shouldn’t be shut down. The state can’t be shut down. You can leave it up to individual businesses, people can make their own decisions. But of course, they plowed directly on. And then what do they do with that? We lose so many jobs in Southern Nevada —"

Host: "Yeah."

Laxalt: "All of those Strip jobs are lost. And so I’m thinking, all right, well, finally, all these voters are going to blame the Democrats for these terrible lockdown policies, right? Well, you guys may remember the Democrats’ message at the time was: Donald Trump’s fault. He’s not doing enough for COVID."

Host: "Yep."

Laxalt: "It’s his fault why you lost your job. And I was thinking at the time, like, ‘God, there’s no way anyone’s going to buy that.’ But, apparently, some slice of voters really thought it was his fault.

"I think the good news is that now we’re a year, a lot of those jobs never came back, a lot of those Hispanic small businesses never reopened, and guess who is in charge? We have a Democrat governor, a Democrat House, a Democrat Assembly, a Democrat president, Democrat Senate, Democrat House of Representatives. And it’s 100% their fault. And so the media can’t cover for them. They’re going to try, we all know, but the media can’t do what it did in 2020 and basically blame the pandemic on Republicans. And so, we’re seeing an awakening here …

"But, here we are. And I think the good news is, while some of this is doom and gloom, I’m not happy it took so long for people to come around. But boy, are people coming around. 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."

In context, Laxalt’s repeated use of "good news" refers to the upside of Nevadans realizing that Democrats’ pandemic policies are responsible for the shuttered Hispanic businesses.

Earlier in the campaign, the Nevada Democratic Victory organization made the same claim that Laxalt celebrated the Latino businesses’ closure using the same Laxalt clip. Cortez Masto’s campaign linked to that claim in news releases.

Cortez Masto’s campaign told PolitiFact that Laxalt was arguing that businesses closing was "good news" because Democrats would shoulder the blame. 

Laxalt’s campaign said the "good news" is in reference to Democrats in Washington and Nevada being, in his view, responsible for hurting businesses.

Our ruling

Cortez Masto’s ad said Laxalt called it "good news" that "a lot of those Hispanic small businesses never reopened" after the pandemic.

Pitching to a Spanish-speaking audience, the ad makes it seem as though Laxalt was happy to see Hispanic businesses fail. That wasn’t his point.

The ad leaves out that in his stuttered response, Laxalt said it was "good news" that voters would blame Democratic leaders — and no longer blame Republican President Donald Trump — for lost jobs and closed businesses that remained a year into the pandemic. He said it was wrong for voters to continue to blame Trump with Democrats in charge of state and national governments.

He didn’t welcome lost Hispanic jobs. We rate Cortez Masto’s distorted claim False.

RELATED: Catherine Cortez Masto’s PolitiFact file

RELATED: Adam Laxalt’s PolitiFact file

RELATED: Fact-checking ads in the 2022 campaigns

Our Sources

Facebook, Catherine Cortez Masto post, Oct. 5, 2022

Email, Catherine Cortez Masto campaign spokesperson Sigalle Reshef, Oct. 12, 2022

Email, Adam Laxalt campaign spokesperson Matt Wolking Oct. 12, 2022

FactCheck.org, "In Context: Laxalt’s Comments on Latino Businesses," Oct. 7, 2022

SteakForBreakfastPodcast.com, "Episode 103," (39:00; 40:40) Jan. 28, 2022

Twitter, Nevada Democratic Victory tweet, Feb. 1, 2022

Catherine Cortez Masto, news release, Sept. 16, 2022

Catherine Cortez Masto, news release, July 29, 2022

Check Your Fact, "Fact Check: Did Adam Laxalt Say It Was ‘good News’ That Hispanic Small Businesses Were Closing?", Oct. 7, 2022

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

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Cortez Masto’s Spanish ad twists Laxalt’s remarks on lost Hispanic jobs and businesses

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