SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Defeated Republican Congresswoman Mia Love delivered a sharp rebuke Monday to President Donald Trump and her party’s relationship with black Americans.
Love, the first and only black Republican woman in Congress, spoke for the first time since she was narrowly defeated by Democrat Ben McAdams for the suburban Salt Lake City seat.
She responded to Trump’s jab the day after the election that she lost the race because she “gave me no love, and she lost.” The claim came during a post-Election Day news conference where he also called out other members of his party who he said failed to fully embrace him.
“This gave me a clear vision of his world as it is. No real relationships, just convenient transactions,” she said Monday.
The White House did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Trump’s comments reflect Republicans’ larger failure to fully embrace minority communities, driving them to the Democratic Party, Love said.
“Because Republicans never take minority communities into their home and citizens into their homes, and into their hearts, they stay with Democrats and bureaucrats in Washington because they do take them home, or at least make them feel like they have a home,” she said.
While she was ousted, Democrats gained new black members of Congress and women this election, she pointed out.
“This is a matter of fact, that Republicans lost in this regard,” she said.
Love said she believes conservative policies are the best way to lift people out of poverty, but those messages have a harder time reaching minority voters.
“The problem is not the policy; it’s that we are never taken into hearts and homes,” she said.
Love says her defeat means she’s now “unleashed” to speak her mind. She declined to say if she will run again, or detail plans for the future.
She also took a shot at her opponent on Monday, calling McAdams a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and decrying the “horrible” criticism of her record in the hard-fought race.
The McAdams campaign said he appreciated a congratulatory call she placed to him over the weekend and “it’s time to put the election behind us.”
Vote-counting was drawn out in the razor-thin race, and in the end McAdams defeated Love by fewer than 700 votes. He was well-known in the district as the mayor of Salt Lake County and pitched himself as a moderate who could work with Trump, and is vowing to oppose Nancy Pelosi as House speaker.
Love, touted as a rising GOP star when she was elected in 2014, distanced herself from Trump during the race on issues including trade and immigration.
Though Utah is deeply conservative, voters have long been uncomfortable with Trump’s brash style and comments about women and minorities. Her district also includes a large part of the suburbs of blue-leaning Salt Lake City.