Careful before you pigeonhole. Life, politics, hometowns and matters of belief can play out in surprising ways on the American landscape.
Rep. Mia Love left Brooklyn years ago. In the national spotlight last week, she still seemed more in tune with what might be called New York values than a president who comes from real estate money in a posh enclave of Queens.
Born 42 years ago as Ludmya Bourdeau, the daughter of Haitian parents, she became a Mormon, moved to Utah, did some acting, worked various jobs. In 2015, she became the first black female Republican in Congress, media accounts noted.
So, of course, she had a thought or two about President Donald Trump’s calling certain nations “shitholes” and questioning why the United States needs more Haitians coming here during his now-notorious talk with lawmakers on immigration.
As widely quoted, Love said of Trump’s comments as first reported Thursday that they were “unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values.”
“Elitist.” That’s an interesting word — one you didn’t hear much during last week’s storm as Trump’s critics and defenders traded fire on what defines racism.
Did she mean “elitist” as in a country-club loudmouth volunteering his “down-to-earth” world view with clipped grass under his feet and assistants at his beck and call?
Well, again, we must be careful before we pigeonhole.
Love said nothing so acidic. Based on her past public conduct, she probably wouldn’t. On this occasion, she simply urged Trump to apologize. She didn’t get nasty; she got biographical.
“My parents came from one of those [poor] countries but proudly took an oath of allegiance to the United States and took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with,” she wrote.
“They never took a thing from our federal government,” she said. “They worked hard, paid taxes, and rose from nothing to take care of and provide opportunities for their children. They taught their children to do the same.
“That’s the American dream.”
Locally, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) describes Love as a good friend. In 2016, she helped headline a fundraiser for his re-election campaign.
Zeldin had a more elliptical, less personal take on Trump’s remarks, concluding: “He’s not perfect, but no president has ever been perfect. I’m still very strongly rooting for his success and America’s success in this great new year.”