Ann Coulter doesn’t have to hug anyone she doesn’t want to. Even if the person requesting the hug is an undocumented immigrant who wants to caress Coulter’s arachnid limbs as a token of her humanity.
This week, Coulter appeared on a Q&A on Fusion to talk about her very reasonable and important opinions about America, immigration, and a whole heap of other shit that both you and I know she just does for the publicity and the money (being awful is pretty fucking lucrative). It would have been just like any other Ann Coulter interview out there—unremarkable, save for this one with Katie Couric—except for what happened partway through: an undocumented immigrant asked Coulter for a hug and she refused.
Here’s what happened, via Talking Points Memo:
Activist and undocumented Ecuadorian immigrant Gaby Pacheco walked up to the microphone and asked whether she could give Coulter a hug.
Coulter refused, saying she was “recovering from the worst flu I’ve ever had.”
Moments later she coughed loudly.
“It’s okay. I’ll take your germs,” Pacheco said. “This undocumented immigrant who has lived in this nation for almost 22 years, wants to, as a sign of my humanity and yours, recognize you and say, ‘Can I give you a hug?’”
“No,” Coulter said. “Let’s get on with the question.”
“Okay, thank you,” Pacheco said.
While the hot take on this is that Ann Coulter hates immigrants of any kind (this is not a new development, by the way; Coulter is very open about her xenophobia and her belief that other cultures are inferior and foreign countries should be invaded and converted to Christianity), the reality is that passing judgment on her for this incident (of all things) isn’t very fair. Pacheco’s request, which, as Howard Kurtz (omg...) points out, was intended to “create a viral image,” not further the immigration debate and reads as though it was intended to embarrass Coulter in the media. Shouldn’t those of us who see ourselves as progressive be applauding her for standing up for herself when it comes to a request that is personal and has nothing to do with her speaking points? The topic of the show wasn’t whether Coulter has humanity in her, it was her ridiculous stance on immigration — so why has the hug become the issue?
What we should be focusing on, as opposed to the hug, is exactly how offensive the rest of Coulter’s statements were. The fact that she doesn’t want to be caressed by an undocumented immigrant (or, it seems, anybody, since Google and Getty image searches for “Ann Coulter hugging” yield scant results) isn’t important, her stance on immigration, which helps her sell books, is.
At another point in the appearance, Fusion host Jorge Ramos asked Coulter whether she really believed that immigrants were more dangerous to Americans than the Islamic State terrorist group.
“I have a little tip,” Coulter said. “If you don’t want to be killed by ISIS, don’t go to Syria. If you don’t want to be killed by a Mexican, there’s nothing I can tell you.”
Ramos said “most immigrants are not terrorists nor criminals” and asked Coulter whether she thought people were “biologically predisposed to commit crimes.”
“No, I think there are cultures that are obviously deficient and if they weren’t deficient you wouldn’t be sitting in America interviewing me, I’d be sitting in Mexico,” Coulter said to Ramos. “You fled that culture because it is a — there are a lot of problems with that culture.
That’s the scary part! Not the fact that she doesn’t want to hug! Let’s focus on how dangerous this idea is instead. And, unpopular opinion alert, Pacheco’s assertion that Joe Arpaio hugged her is nothing to write home about. Yes, he touched you as a sign of his “humanity,” but he’s not disassembling tent city any time soon.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.