A Mia Love primary challenge to Trump would be waaaaaaaaay more interesting than a John Kasich primary challenge.
But where would she get the money? A twice-elected governor of Ohio and former longtime congressman has many more wealthy fundraiser friends than a now-defeated two-term congresswoman from Utah. She wouldn’t even have the support of her two formerly Never Trump senators, Mike Lee and Mitt Romney.
She’s not thinking of a primary challenge, though. She might be thinking of becoming a recurring Trump critic in the media. And one with a particular racial angle from which to attack.
It started here the day after the midterms, with Trump blaming Love’s unwillingness to invite him to campaign for her in her district as a key contributing factor to her apparent defeat:
"Too bad, Mike…Sorry about that, Mia."
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) November 7, 2018
Trump campaigning for Love would have been awkward. She called on him to drop out in 2016 after the “Access Hollywood” tape emerged, as various other Utah pols did, and opposed his trade policies. She probably figured she didn’t need him this year, having won reelection two years ago by double digits. She ended up losing a nailbiter to Democrat Ben McAdams, prompting today’s concession. But the concession itself ended up being the least noteworthy part of the speech:
“The President’s behavior towards me made me wonder: What did he have to gain by saying such a thing about a fellow Republican,” Love said during her speech in Salt Lake City. “It was not really about asking him to do more, was it? Or was it something else? Well Mr. President, we’ll have to chat about that.”
“Something else”? Is she implying racism?
She might be implying racism:
“This election experience and these comments shines a spotlight on the problems Washington politicians have with minorities and black Americans — it’s transactional, it’s not personal,” she said.
She added, “You see, we feel like politicians claim they know what’s best for us from a safe distance, yet they’re never willing to take us home. Because Republicans never take minority communities into their home and citizens into their homes and into their hearts, they stay with Democrats and bureaucrats in Washington because they do take them home — or at least make them feel like they have a home.”
Hoo boy. Trump *is* a famously transactional character — the art of the “deal” and all that — but it’s weird of Love to cite his post-election comment about her as evidence of that. That’s actually an example of him not behaving transactionally. He took it personally that she wasn’t more of a Trump acolyte because that’s what his ego demands of him. All victories are attributable to Trump, all defeats are attributable to a lack of Trump. Love wanted nothing to do with him, ergo that must be why she lost. The “transactional” thing for him to do would have been to place party loyalty above personal loyalty by saying some warm words about her despite her coolness towards him. It’s Love, by scolding him for not giving her that rote partisan measure of support, who’s demanding a more transactional relationship in this particular case.
She’ll elaborate on these themes at 4 p.m. today when she sits down with Jake Tapper for a CNN interview. Cable news will always find room for Republicans who dislike the state of the GOP but Love is of special interest due to her congressional resume and her unusual identity as a black woman Republican. “I’m not going away, but now I am unleashed,” she said during her speech today. “I am untethered, and I am unshackled and I can say exactly what’s on my mind.” People who say exactly what’s on their mind tend not to have political futures but they do make interesting TV guests. She’s not going centrist, though. Watch a few minutes below and you’ll see her reiterate her belief that conservative policies are the way forward.