Trump v. Love

Mia Love, an African-American woman, represents Utah’s fourth district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Having very narrowly lost her re-election bid, she will leave Congress at the end of the year.

We proudly supported Love as a “Power Line Pick” in 2012 (when she ran unsuccessfully), 2014, and 2016. Given her solidly conservative voting record in the House, we probably would have supported her this year, if I had gotten my act together and submitted a slate to my colleagues for their approval.

In her campaign, Love distanced herself from President Trump. This was a sensible move because, as Scott explained here, Trump is not popular in her district or, indeed, in her state. Utah was one of the few states whose primary Trump did not win. Utahans take morality seriously.

There’s nothing unusual about member of Congress distancing herself from a president in situations like this. With any president whose approval rating hovers around 50 percent or lower, there will be jurisdictions in which that president is a significant drag on candidates from his party. It’s normal in these cases for such candidates not to embrace the president.

For example, there were candidates who distanced themselves from President Obama and rejected his offers to campaign for them. Obama, a world class narcissist, did not appear to take this personally — at least his public pronouncements revealed no sign of displeasure.

And Obama certainly did not gloat when such candidates lost their elections.

Trump, by contrast, chose to taunt Love over her narrow defeat. At a press conference, he said that Love “gave me no love,” adding that “she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that Mia.” As Scott put it:

Trump all but gloated over the. . .failure of [Love’s] reelection bid. In doing so, Trump showed himself in this case to be a small man. It’s not a good look and it’s not smart either.

Mia Love concurs. In her concession speech, which you can view below, she stated:

The President’s behavior towards me made me wonder: What did he have to gain by saying such a thing about a fellow Republican. It was not really about asking him to do more [for her in the campaign], was it? Or was it something else? Well Mr. President, we’ll have to chat about that.

Love is right to wonder because, as discussed above, Trump’s behavior was so unusual. His taunting of a defeated member of party, and a fellow conservative to boot, flies in the face of normal presidential behavior. I can’t think of another president who has done it.

But if Love is implying that Trump’s pettiness is about her race, I think she’s wrong. Contrary to her statement, I think it really was about Love’s rejection of Trump’s assistance. In other words, it was about his narcissism and smallness, both of which he routinely displays towards those who offend him, regardless of their race.

Love stated:

I’m not going away, but now I am unleashed. I am untethered, and I am unshackled and I can say exactly what’s on my mind.

That’s a good thing. I just hope that she doesn’t feed the false narrative that Trump is a racist. In reality, he’s an equal opportunity jerk.

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