Colin McEnroe: The dividing line between Trump and The Squad
When I first heard about President Trump’s whole “go back to the country you came from ... you can’t leave fast enough” rant, I just assumed he and Melania were having one of their occasional spats.
But no. This was directed against four women of color (three of them born on U.S. soil) in Congress who call themselves The Squad, a term they seem to have borrowed from political scientist Taylor Swift, who used it as a way of calling attention to her creepy public friendships that seemed to exist solely for exhibition purposes. Anyway, Tay-Tay and her Swift boat have sailed onward to other places. “Squad” is so 2015.
It could be argued to that leaning on a trope formerly associated with Selena Gomez and a bunch of Victoria’s Secret models is not a good way for first-term Congress members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts to be taken seriously.
On the other hand, let us not forget the self-styled “Three Amigos,” also known as U.S. Sens. John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham. The “Three Amigos” was, of course, a comedy movie and it was way easier to say than One Upright Citizen and His Two Fawning, Easily Corrupted Coach Dogs.
McCain has left us. Lieberman — you can’t make this stuff up — was spotted last weekend speaking in Albania, along with Rudy Giuliani, at a meeting of Mujahedin-e Khalq, a cultish, celibate Iranian exile group.
Meanwhile, there is something wrong with Graham. We can all see that. I’m going with demonic possession until a better explanation surfaces. In the course of publicly telling Trump that he needs to tone down his tweets about the Squad, he called them anti-Semitic communists who hate America.
That resulted in an equally public rebuke from Meghan McCain, daughter of Amigo Numero Uno. Addressing (direct-to-camera) Graham from a perch on “The View,” which has somehow transformed itself into a latter-day “McLaughlin Group,” McCain told Graham he was no longer the man she grew up liking.
McCain said all this nastiness about foreign-born women of color had an especially sour taste because her adopted sister was born in Bangladesh and was subjected to racist taunts as a young girl. She noted that Graham, as a family amigo, had witnessed those hurtful zings but now appears comfortable spewing the same kind of venom.
And that was just the public part. Presumably Melania Trump will pull Graham aside at some point and remind him that her father Viktor Knav was a Communist party member back in Sevnica.
If it turns out I’m right and Graham is possessed by a demon which must be exorcised, certain people are going to owe him a big apology. But “The Conjuring VI: Annabelle Goes to Washington” will be so worth it.
Meanwhile, Trump — realizing that he had maybe gone a little too far in denouncing the Squad — did the gentlemanly thing and flew to North Carolina this week for one of his fun-packed rallies at which he got the crowd chanting, about the Somali-born Omar, “Send her back! Send her back!”
This raises an important question. Can Trump rally crowds chant anything that isn’t three one-syllable words? Lock her up. Build that wall. What if he wanted them to chant “I dislike strawberries?” Too hard?
Also, “Send her back” is actually a more aggressive thing to say than “Why don’t they go back?” This is a duly elected member of Congress who is here every bit as legally as Melania Trump.
Here in Connecticut, there are two uncomfortable questions. One, why doesn’t U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes get to be in the Squad? I assume it’s because she doesn’t want to. Hayes’s seat in the always tippy canoe of the CT 5th District is not especially safe and cannot be held onto merely on the strength of principled leftist thought. She has to steer toward the center more than some of those Squadsters.
Two, what would it take to get a bunch of Connecticut Republicans to object to Trump in a visible way? I understand why it can’t happen all the time, but, really, we’ve reached a level of ugliness that begs for the laying down of markers. This is the president. He’s launching his reelection bid on a note of racial animus even more putrid, if that’s possible, than the bile that fueled him in 2016.
You’re going to run next year on a ticket topped by this guy. Do you think the next 10 rallies are going to be nicer? Are you waiting for some other not-hard-to-imagine tipping point, such as a Jeffrey Epstein Girl Scout Cookie Sex Dungeon narrative?
By then, it will be too late. It will mean nothing when you say you object. By that time, Freddy Krueger and Voldemort will have objected. You will have stayed on the bus longer than they did. That can’t possibly feel good.
Colin McEnroe’s column appears every Sunday, his newsletter comes out every Thursday and you can hear his radio show every weekday on WNPR 90.5. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for his newsletter at http://bit.ly/colinmcenroe.