Kevin Cullen

In a confrontation with Trump, my money’s on Ayanna Pressley

Representative Ayanna Pressley.
Representative Ayanna Pressley.Susan Walsh/Associated Press/File/Associated Press

Did you hear what the president said?

Let me rephrase that: Did you see what the president tweeted?

Because that’s what the guy does. He doesn’t think. He doesn’t write.

He tweets.

I can’t wait to see the Trump Presidential Library. They’ll be able to fit it inside one of those play areas at McDonald’s, which, as a destination, sounds about right.

So, the president, channeling his best Archie Bunker “Love It Or Leave It” impression, tweeted that the four female congresswomen known as the Squad are ungrateful, anti-Semitic, anti-American bums who should go back to where they come from.


It was sheer coincidence that the Squad consists entirely of women of color.

And why is no one is giving President Trump props for his remarkable show of restraint: He did not use the word “uppity.”

Congratulations, Mr. President. Well done. Your kids must be so proud.

Adrian Walker: Ayanna Pressley has done more than weather Trump’s attacks. She’s winning

I really enjoy how, when the president screws up, they trot out Kellyanne Conway to do damage control, because she invariably makes things worse.

I wish I was the journalist she asked, “What’s your ethnicity?”

I would have replied, “Same as you, cuz. Irish and not very bright.”

On the whole, I’m not a huge fan of the Squad. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have said things that some people consider anti-Semitic or at least offensive. AOC I can take or leave, and her accusing Nancy Pelosi of being at the very least racially insensitive betrayed a worrisome lack of maturity. The Squad needs to show a little more respect to Pelosi, who has emerged as the most resilient speaker of the House since the great Tip, of the North Cambridge O’Neills, God rest him.


Jeneé Osterheldt: The ‘Squad’ is doing its job: Telling Trump how the US should work

At the risk of sounding like a homer, the one member of the Squad that really impresses is the Massachusetts rep, Ayanna Pressley. In any kind of confrontation with Trump, my money’s on my sister from Boston. She’s smart and solid.

But what the president said about her, that she should go back to where she came from, was, as the great Irish playwright Sean O’Casey said in a different context, beyond the beyonds.

Pressley comes from Cincinnati.

Trump regularly flouts the Constitution, and sending someone back to Cincinnati is a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment against cruel and unusual punishment.

If Ayanna Pressley goes back to Cincinnati she could very well meet her death.

Not from the supposedly terrible crime that Trump says infests her birthplace, but from boredom.

I spent a night in Cincinnati once. When they rolled up the sidewalks, it was still light out.

To be serious for a moment, what Trump tweeted wasn’t a dog whistle. It was a fog horn. And who, exactly, does he think such rhetoric appeals to?

It appeals to the young guy, unhappy with his own place in life, who leans out a car window and yells at an old lady walking down the street, without knowing anything about her, telling her to go back to her own country.


It appeals to the constantly aggrieved who constantly complain that “their” country has been taken away from them by black and brown and yellow people.

America is a land of immigrants. Always has been. Always will be.

Every American family consisted of immigrants at some point, except for Native Americans, who, come to think about it, are probably the only ones entitled to be hanging out their car windows yelling, “Go back to where you came from!”

The only problem is we robbed them of their land, stripped them of their culture, and stuck them on reservations, so if they lean out their windows and shout nativist slogans, the only ones that would hear them are other Native Americans.

Oh well, so much racism, so little time.

If I weren’t such a God-fearing man, I might be tempted to tell the president to go back to where he came from.

But, then, come to think of it, at this point, I doubt he’d fit under that rock.

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at cullen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeCullen.