Ana Navarro, the Republican strategist and political commentator known for her fierce public rejection of GOP nominee Donald Trump, came to Princeton this week — and immediately made clear in a sharp and feisty public talk that her opposition to Trump has not softened since he became president-elect.
Navarro, on a three-day visit to the Woodrow Wilson School, spoke to an overflow audience in Dodds Auditorium Nov. 30, offering an election analysis and discussing her concerns for the future of the Republican party.
“Our political party started this race with some of the best stallions we have in our stable,” she said. “And somehow we ended up with a horse’s ---.”
Navarro attributed Trump’s success to his ability to tap into an angry rural America that both Republican and Democrat presidential hopefuls failed to address. “Trump beat candidates who were better prepared, better funded, better campaigners, and spent more money,” she said. “While everyone was playing a political game that ceased to exist, Trump was attuned to the transformation occurring in the Republican base.” The election results force Americans to acknowledge and confront the deep divides facing the country, she said, urging the audience to help create a more inclusive political climate.
A lifelong Republican, Navarro said she voted for Hillary Clinton, supporting the Democratic candidate on the ballot for the first time, though she was unhappy with Clinton, as well. “I struggled with it for weeks, I pulled petals off a daisy, I talked to friends, I drank heavily. I didn’t want to do it,” she said. “I still want to vote for someone who I believe in, someone who inspires me to be better.”
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Navarro sympathized with a student’s concerns about the growing hostility that many Republicans have displayed toward the sciences. “As someone that lives in Miami, I am very worried about climate change,” she said, quipping that “voter relocation” – moving climate-change deniers to South Florida – could be a solution. Lamenting the public perception of Republicans as the anti-science party, Navarro joked that the student could consider switching parties: “You should become a Republican! It’ll help. That’s the problem: All you science people become Democrats!”
Referencing Trump’s statements that climate change is a Chinese hoax, Navarro quipped: “I think Donald Trump is a Chinese hoax.”