If you’re a right-winger desperate for the spotlight, there’s nothing like stoking a fake controversy and ginning up the uglies — especially to sell books. And, we’re witnessing that play out with one of the loudest self-promoters in the GOP: Ann Coulter.
This all started with a simple question: “Can I give you a hug?”
During a televised Q&A hosted by Univision’s Jorge Ramos earlier this week, audience member and DREAMer Gaby Pacheco asked columnist Ann Coulter for a simple embrace.
“I wouldn’t today—I’m recovering from the worst flu I’ve ever had,” Coulter replied, throwing in a well-timed cough.
“It’s okay—I’ll take your germs,” Pacheco persisted. “This undocumented immigrant who has lived in this nation for almost 22 years wants to as a sign of my humanity and yours recognize you and say ‘Can I give you a hug?’”
“No,” Coulter curtly replied. “Let’s get on with the question.”
Pacheco, already having faced far greater challenges as a leader in the immigration movement, took the rejection in stride and continued on with her question.
Video of the encounter made the rounds almost immediately after the interview, though the incident was of no surprise to people already familiar with Coulter’s racially-charged, incendiary style.
But Coulter is in book-selling mode — and probably desperate to sell as more and more mainstream outlets refuse to feature her inflammatory rhetoric. So, to keep the controversy rolling, she went into mean girl mode and apparently took a personal dig at Pacheco the next day:
Asked about the “hug” question by Breitbart News, Coulter noted that she won’t admit people like Pacheco to the United States.
“When I’m in charge of immigration (after our 10 year moratorium), I will not admit overweight girls,” Coulter said in the email.
When it’s plain Coulter’s book-selling strategy is to shock, there’s no point in adding fuel to her fire. Clearly, she’s crying out for attention, and when she didn’t get enough for refusing Gaby’s hug she had to take it up a notch. That ugly talk appeals to a segment of the GOP base and they dutifully enrich Coulter by buying her screeds.
In their world, hate sells.
We don’t want to give her more airtime than it already receives. But when someone like Coulter attacks a friend, especially someone as brilliant, kind, and honorable as Gaby Pacheco, we can’t stay silent. Coulter’s stunt is simply about selling books, but still it is bullying and we have to speak up in the face of bullies.
It’s also appalling to hear the silence from leaders in the conservative world who have yet to condemn Coulter’s hateful remarks.
Some of these figures — including two of Gaby’s fellow Floridians, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio — like to call immigrants their friends. Rubio and Bush even call immigrants their family members. Both have been advised by Pacheco on immigration, and, like her, call Florida their home.
But as Pacheco falls under a barrage of virtual harassment from Coulter and Breitbart’s hundreds of thousands of readers — including many comments bordering on violent — the silence from Bush and Rubio is deafening. And disheartening.
Also, there’s nothing in protest from the Koch-funded LIBRE Initiative. Its leader, Daniel Garza, is always casting aspersions on Democrats. But when one of his right-wing allies attacks an immigrant youth leader, we get crickets.
Disparaging our friend Gaby in the name of selling books is repugnant. Failing to stand up for her by supposed allies is too.
We love Gaby. Everyone who knows Gaby loves her. After this blew up, she wrote on Facebook: “Love will conquer hate. Love will expose hate. Love will always win.”
Hate is being exposed big time. And love is winning.