This has been a tough election cycle. There have been insults to women and jabs thrown faster than Trump’s tiny hands can tweet. And they don’t even all come from Donald Trump! Remember when Marco Rubio offered that middle school barb about how you know what it means when someone has small hands? And let’s not forget that ugly moment at the Republican National Convention when Ted Cruz encouraged citizens to vote according to their conscience. (Will someone please explain how that’s an insult, because it seems to me that the only kind of person who would find fault in that statement is an unconscionable one.) Even Hillary Clinton got in the name-calling game when she said that a man who can be baited with a tweet is not a man we should trust with nuclear weapons. (Again, how is that name-calling? Pundits are embracing equality and using that as Clinton’s example of it, but personally I would have gone with that time Joe Biden said “malarkey.”)
So, things have gotten rough and tumble out on the campaign, but this week marked a new low when Kayleigh McEnany said something that broke my heart.
It was the day Donald Trump called Hillary Clinton a bigot. We’ll all remember where we were when we first heard (I was on my purple couch). Storms were brewing, and temperatures were running high. CNN’s Bakari Sellers was particularly impassioned and looking to replace John Oliver as my celebrity crush. He pointed out that he was only judging Trump on his speech and his actions, because he couldn’t judge him personally.
“Well, none of us can,” Kayleigh said, color rising in her face, aspiring to a Trump red, tiny tears developing in her bright, doe eyes. “None of us have ever met him.”
Now, full disclosure, I’ve lost a fair amount of time trying to understand the wonder that is Kayleigh McEnany, the girl who looks like she’s a permanent glamour shot. The first thing that confused me is that she’s young, a millennial that accidentally took the express train to Trumpdom. She first caught my eye months ago on CNN when she said, “Any 1L law student knows that.” Kayleigh, dear, 1L means first-year law student. You either say “1L” or “law student,” but not both! Any 1L knows that! (See?)
So, I had to know more. According to her website, she “graduated from Harvard Law School with a Juris Doctor.” McEnany, the Elle Woods of CNN, strikes again with redundant legal jargon! A J.D. is what you get when you graduate from law school. Either tell us that you have a J.D. from Harvard Law, or tell us that you graduated from Harvard Law, and we’ll just assume that you studied law and not filmmaking and that, upon graduation, they handed you a J.D. and not a certificate saying, “Thanks for playing.” Kayleigh, if I learned anything in my legal writing class, it’s that you don’t have to use every word you know. Any 1L knows that.
Perky and pesky, Kayleigh is 28 and has worked at Fox News, The View, and at least six news sites, including Breitbart (I know; wonderlandy). A little simple math leads me to believe she never worked as a practicing attorney, which is good, because her ability to examine the merits of any case is completely undermined by her overwhelming need to tie any conversation back to the glory that is Mr. Trump.
And that acrobatic ability to fiercely shake your head while a Democrat speaks until it’s your turn to laundry list Hillary Clinton’s shortcomings or remind viewers that Donald Trump ultimately hired Omarosa is all Kayleigh needed to land her current position. And, look, I respect everyone’s right to find their calling, but this summer I’ve been seeing too many job titles that make me sad: co-chair Women Vote Trump, synchronized swimmer, and, of course, Kayleigh’s current job title, Trump supporter.
As such, dear little Kayleigh makes a fool of herself on national television nearly every night. She looked mildly age appropriate during the conventions when Don Lemon hosted what I like to call “CNN After Dark,” but for the most part she looks like a new puppy eager to please an absent master when she takes the CNN stage, barking out Martin Luther King quotes, more redundant legal jargon, like “court of law,” and, my new favorite, the dictionary definition of “bigot.” (Quick note: I haven’t heard a Merriam-Webster definition quoted since high school debate.)
So, yes, I was heartbroken when dear, simple, motivated Kayleigh revealed in a moment of passion that she has never met the man himself. The only way I’ve been able to make sense of her is to imagine that there’s an ulterior motive, that somehow he’s hooking her up with a Coach bag filled with gold or a promise that she’ll be Eric’s second wife. Yes, women can be Trump supporters, and yes, anyone can be sparkly and dumb, but I’d like to think that this alleged Elle Woods would know to line up something in return for what will likely be a life of ridicule.
And I trust Kayleigh. I mean, I don’t trust her to get anything right, but if she tells me she’s never met him, I sadly believe her. She would lie on his behalf, but she wouldn’t lie about this. She revealed her truth, and now we’re all going to have to hope HillaryCare covers grief counseling.
But, dear Kayleigh, you dumpling that’s not yet cooked, hear me out: in Contracts we learn that in order for a contract to be official, there must be an offer and acceptance. You have made your offer. Oh, sweet Kayleigh, you make your offer every time you talk about how great Trump is for women and every time you point out that he misspoke when he said that a woman who gets an abortion should be punished. Your offer is clear. But the good news is that if you’ve truly never met him, then your offer has not been accepted. You can get out! You can find yourself a little Chihuahua who will love you as much as you love Trump and find yourself a life where your colleagues don’t erupt in laughter every time you speak. Without acceptance, you can change. Without acceptance, you don’t have to love Trump’s hate. Without acceptance, there is hope. Without acceptance, you are free. Without acceptance, you don’t have a deal. Any 1L knows that.