There’s a new sheriff in town. Or maybe it just looks that way because Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) appeared on CNN wearing yet another of her seemingly endless supply of cowboy hats.
The purpose of her appearance was twofold. First, it was to take umbrage at Donald Trump’s reference in a tweet to former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman as “a dog.” This, Wilson intimated in a rambling nearly two-minute-long harangue, is racist. How she didn’t say.
Second, it was to anoint Trump with his own nickname. Noting that the president “has a nickname for everyone,”she gave him the nickname “Don in the first grade reader.”
Forgive the lax punctuation, but I have no clue what she was trying to say. Is she implying that Trump reads at the first-grade level? Perhaps if she provided an English translation.
Here is a video of her performance. Transcript follows:
"We have to stop him and the only way we can stop him and stop all of this foolishness and all of this hate and all of this racism…is we've got to send a blue wave through this country in the midterms": @RepWilson urges Democratic midterm votes after Trump calls Omarosa a "dog" pic.twitter.com/OxDKC3EEY2
— New Day (@NewDay) August 14, 2018
A dog. How dare he? He has taken this country to its knees. We already have racism raining down all over America. He has a nickname for everyone And his nickname is ‘Don in the first grade reader.’
The only way we can stop him and stop all of this foolishness and all of this hate and all of this racism that’s raining down on America is we’ve got to send a blue wave through this country in the midterms. And then we’ve got to send a blue wave in November, and we’ll shut down all of this racism.
*UPDATE*: Literally seconds after I went live with this post, I received a phone call from a linguist friend I had called to ask about the curious combination of words in Wilson’s putative insult. He explained that there is a slow-witted character named “Ned” in “The First Reader,” by William Holmes McGuffey. Published in the mid-1850s, McGuffey’s Readers were among the first classroom textbooks used in America. Calling someone “Ned in The First Reader” is insulting that person’s intelligence. The phrase is still common in the American South. Wilson erroneously added the word grade to the epithet. It was rather provincial of her to use a regionalism on national TV and assume everyone would understand, but the insult makes sense … sort of.