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The Cooch and The Mooch have exposed our heart of darkness

Very very frightening me

Jeffrey Denny
5 min readAug 15, 2019


Jeffrey Denny

Journalist Michael Kinsley famously defined a political “gaffe” as when a politician tells an obvious truth but shouldn’t because it’s impolitic.

“The Cooch” — aka, Trump’s revolving-door acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli — accidentally on purpose reinforced that our beloved president, to sucker and succor his white supremacist base not for political power, doesn’t want any more tired poor people coming to America even if they “do it right.”

The old Horatio Alger rags-to-riches American success story about the immigrant who arrived on our shores with nary a penny in pocket, but through pluck, luck and ingenuity fired by the American spirit of enterprise built an empire and changed the world, is over. Trump wants to yank the drawbridge. No more ForbesImmigrant Stories That Will Make You Believe In The American Dream Again.”

The Cooch view is offensive to many Americans like me who have family who came from abroad, tired and poor.

From what I can glean, my mother arrived as a young teen with her parents and three siblings in the early 1950s from WWII-devastated Austria. Her father, Anton, had been conscripted into the German army, making him technically a Nazi enemy combatant. His wife, Stephanie, and their kids were housed in military barracks so they lost the only home they had. My mother recalls U.S. air raids and her school being bombed.

Catholic Charities sponsored them to come to America. A Catholic diocese gave Anton and Stephanie jobs — him as a church janitor and her as a housekeeper in a nun dorm. Then Anton fought with his boss and both lost their jobs. He never worked again. Stephanie became a school lunch lady. The story is sketchy but this is mostly all I know so far.

I suspect if Trump had been president in the late 1950s, I wouldn’t exist.

That’s all right with me. I wouldn’t know it. Not to get all existential.

But my mother, turning 80 in October and nearing her fifth year fighting insurmountable AML leukemia (like many immigrants, she’s a scrapper), might not be in America and now proudly a citizen.

My immigrant mother also depends on free “socialist” government Medicare and doctors/healthcare systems that accept Medicare so she can stay alive. This might put her among many former immigrants who receive government benefits, defined by The Cooch as “public charge.”

Thank the little baby Jesus we’re European whites and not dirty criminal Latinx refugee tired-poors on the Mexico border seeking asylum that need separating and caging children for not coming to America properly white and right.

Meanwhile, “The Mooch” — the 11-day Trump White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who after the routine jettisoning continued to plump for Trump — had a come-to-Jesus conversion.

The Mooch now says Trump and his presidency are — I paraphrase — melting down like Chernobyl or microwave locavore goat cheese, and Trump needs to be goosed back up his golden Trump Tower escalator.

Of course Trump and his snarling, boot-licking hounds who take nasty pleasure in his most despicable behavior haughtily sneered back at The Mooch. While intelligent, decent, reasonable Americans who knew from the start Trump was a snake-oil fraud said, “Duh, bruh!”

The Mooch explained, “To those asking, ‘what took so long?’ You’re right. I tried to see best in @realDonaldTrump based on private interactions and select policy alignment. But his increasingly divisive rhetoric — and damage it’s doing to fabric of our society — outweighs any short-term economic gain.”

God bless The Cooch and The Mooch for losing the fandango.

Bless them for telling their truth in spite of the thunderbolts and lightning. I can only imagine how it’s been very very frightening, Galileo, Figaro, magnifico. And how they sometimes wish they’d never been born at all.

All that aside, it’s fascinating that The Gooch and The Mooch are both good Catholic boys.

While I was baptized but not confirmed nor raised in the church, I attend mass occasionally at St. Matthews Cathedral in Washington DC, famous for where the state funeral for the slain JFK was held.

While I have no idea what’s going on at mass — stand up, sit down, sing, recite, kneel, the new response to “peace be with you,” etc. — I love how the pews are jammed with all races, classes and nationalities, the welcoming spirit of the faith, and the belief we’re all flawed but redeemable if we can just call bullshit on our own amazing selves.

So in my humble, The Mooch deserves redemption for doing what few in Washington or anywhere have the decency to do: Confessing when we’re wrong, straight out, without lawyer weasel words (“mistakes were made”), apologizing and making amends.

Catholics also believe, per the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in life and dignity of the human person and caring for the poor and vulnerable.

“We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences,” the bishops state. “We are our brothers and sisters keepers, wherever they may be.”

Catholic Charities USA (with my favorite slogan, “Faith. Works. Wonders.”) “provide compassionate and professional care to meet the immediate, intermediate and long-term needs of immigrants and refugees. While respecting the laws to maintain our national security, we will continue to advocate for a humane response to those seeking safety within our borders.”

That’s why The Cooch’s statements and position on immigration confuse me.

Even with his Catholic faith, eight children presumably raised in Jesus and immigrant forebears, as Virginia attorney general he tried to eliminate birthright citizenship, questioned Barack Obama’s citizenship, and proposed making speaking Spanish on the job a firing offense.

No less than Senate Majority Leader “Moscow Mitch” McConnell warned Trump against appointing Cuccinelli to the top U.S. immigration post. Nevertheless, The Cooch persists.

The Trump darkening of Liberty’s Lamp and slamming new tired, poor immigrants raises a broader question:

Is voicing America’s racially and ethnically anti-immigrant fears that demonized every immigrant wave in our history — from German to Scandinavian to Irish to Italian to Latin and Muslim today — a bad thing because it inspires and normalizes righteous nativism?

Or is The Cooch and nativist ilk accidentally doing a good thing by lifting the rock and exposing a dark, dank, wormy strain in our national heart and allowing the sunshine of democracy to disinfect?

Not to be a stupid liberal, but let’s hope for the latter.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.



Jeffrey Denny

A Pullet Surprise-winning writer who always appreciates free chicken.