It is almost impossible to avoid articles offering advice on how to handle yourself if things turn political at Thanksgiving dinner. Sadly, the perceived need for such advice is a reflection of our times. Since a certain unapologetic bigot moved into the White House, he has made it his mission to get Americans feeling as polarized as ever. Donald Trump acts as if he swore an oath only to his base while lashing out at anyone who opposes or even disagrees with him. Trump even went so far recently as to label Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams a “Never Trumper” simply because she agreed to testify in his impeachment inquiry.
While much is written about keeping things cordial at Thanksgiving dinner, Thanksgiving eve is a different story. In what sounds like the beginning of a bar joke, a prominent Democrat and one of Trump’s top evildoers ran into each other last night at the Dubliner, an Irish pub in Washington, D.C. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who vied for the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election, was already at the bar when Ken Cuccinelli arrived. Cuccinelli, who earlier this month became the acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security after having served as Trump’s acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, has played a key role in turning Trump’s cruel and twisted immigration policies into reality.
The sight of Cuccinelli walking into the bar prompted O’Malley to speak up against his ugly legacy. According to the Washington Post, Siobhan Arnold, a witness at the Dubliner, reported that O’Malley launched a “shame-invoking tirade” that succeeded in ejecting Cuccinelli and his aura of hypocritical malevolence out of the bar. O’Malley later texted the Post to say that he called Cuccinelli “the son of immigrant grandparents who cages children for a fascist president.” O’Malley, who was there with fellow alumni of Gonzaga College High School, added that “[w]e all let him know how we felt about him putting refugee immigrant kids in cages—certainly not what we were taught by the Jesuits at Gonzaga.”
Cuccinelli, who is also a Gonzaga alumnus, did not respond to the Post’s request for comments. But, according to Arnold, Cuccinelli simply “retreated,” saying nothing other than “Time to go. Just got here and I’m leaving.” This is the same outspoken hardliner who a few months ago vandalized Emma Lazarus’ “The New Colossus” in a brash attempt to justify a rule that would make it tougher for low-income, legal immigrants to stay in the United States. Now, finally, Cuccinelli is setting a good example for Trump and the other hate-mongering members of his corrupt administration. It is time they all take his cue.