The first and only African-American woman to be elected to Congress as a Republican, Utah’s Mia Love, made her formal concession speech today after losing a very close race to Democrat and Salt Lake County mayor, Ben McAdams. You might think the Republican president of the United States, who has been credibly accused of exhibiting racist and sexist tendencies on a few dozen occasions, would have been especially sympathetic to Love, who lost the most vulnerable GOP-held House seat in her state. But no: When her contest was still very much in doubt the day after the election, Trump had this to say about her, as Politico reported:
“Mia Love. I saw Mia Love, and she would call me all the time to help her with a hostage situation, being held hostage in Venezuela,” the president also said, referring to the release of Utahn Josh Holt, who had been held by the Venezuelan government. “But Mia Love gave me no love. And she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”
The suggestion that she would have won had she shown Trump that love is unsupported by facts. As you may recall from 2016, Utah Republicans held their party’s nominee in such low regard that he registered the lowest percentage of the vote there of any GOP nominee since Lyndon Johnson carried the state in 1964 (conservative independent Evan McMullin won 21 percent). He won a mere 39 percent of the vote in Love’s district. And his pre-midterm job approval ratio in the state (according to Morning Consult) was underwater at 47/49.
So Love probably felt emboldened to fire back at POTUS today, as the Deseret News reports:
“What did he have to gain by saying such a thing about a fellow Republican? It was not really asking about him to do more, was it?” she asked, saying the president’s comments gave her a “clear vision of his world as it is.”
The president’s world, Love said, is “no real relationships — just transactions. That is an insufficient way to implement your service and policy.”
Trump’s transactional approach to life is hardly breaking news. But Love’s thoughts on his and their party’s approach to minority voters is worth noting:
Love, the first black Republican woman in the House, also said her re-election and Trump’s comments “shine a spotlight on the problems Washington politicians have with minorities and black Americans. It’s transactional. It’s not personal.”
She said “because Republicans never take minorities into their homes” and into their hearts, they favor Democrats and bureaucrats who “at least make them feel like they have a home.”
While that has to be the most backhanded compliment to Democrats anyone has ever paid, it also reflects how little effort Love thinks the GOP has put into minority outreach. And mocking the rare Republican minority officeholder as Trump did is not going to help.