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Of course President Trump’s comments about Representative Ayanna Pressley are racist. But even more revolting is his defense: pretending he’s not attacking her race, but rather her lack of patriotism. Pressley’s entire life has been a story of patriotism: loving her country so much that she wanted to help America live up to its ideals.

A strong woman raised in public housing by a fearless mother who sacrificed to keep her safe? An activist who found in Boston a life of public service and a determination to speak up for people who were underrepresented? That story identifies as more “American” than any mantle this president could ever claim. No wonder Donald Trump is afraid of her.

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John F. Kerry

Boston

Pressley served as Kerry’s political director when he was in the US Senate.