Ana Navarro won the hearts of thousands of Americans by saying "pussy" on television. In her most famous clip, the CNN commentator launched an exasperated verbal attack on Scottie Nell Hughes, a supporter of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, who tut-tutted Navarro for quoting Trump's now-infamous "grab 'em by the pussy" line.
"Don't tell me you're offended when I say 'pussy' but you're not offended when Donald Trump says it," Navarro shouted. "I'm not running for president. He is."
The internet practically exploded with gratitude for Navarro's no-nonsense analysis; the video racked up hundreds of thousands of shares across social media, painting Navarro as a rare voice of reason during the campaigns. But one person in particular wasn't pleased.
"My mother is very upset that I said 'pussy' on TV," Navarro says, laughing. "She told me she didn't raise me that way, to say bad words on TV. She's practically not speaking to me over it."
Navarro isn't your average Trump critic. She's a Republican; she grew up idolizing Ronald Reagan and backed his support for the Contras in Nicaragua, where she was born. Her dad was even a Contra. She's worked for John McCain and Jeb Bush. Ever since she landed in Miami in 1980, fleeing the revolution in her country of birth, her life has been steeped in conservative politics.
"When you are raised in the midst of a political revolution and strife and exile, politics is part of your daily experience," she says. "It's part of your daily conversation. You care about what's happening in your homeland."
But her response to the president-elect's campaign transcended party loyalty. To Navarro, each new headline from the candidate felt like a personal attack — starting with the announcement of his candidacy.
"The minute I heard him refer to Mexicans as rapists and criminals, I wasn't born in Mexico, but I knew he was referring to me," she says. "I know that for people like Donald Trump, everybody south of the border, whether it's Colombia or Venezuela or Guatemala or Nicaragua or Honduras, we are all painted with the broad brushstroke of 'Mexicans.'"
Trump attacked John McCain for being a POW; Navarro calls the senator "a personal hero." Trump mocked a reporter with a disability; Navarro's brother lives with severe disabilities. He called women fat pigs and slobs; Navarro, a woman, won't stand for it. "How unevolved a life form can you possibly be?" she says in a pre-election interview. "To me, Donald Trump is a fluorescent-orange amoeba. He is the lowest form of life."
Positioned squarely at the center of the Venn diagram of groups Donald Trump has offended, and armed with a lightning-fast talent for cutting through bullshit, Navarro has become the breakout star of the 2016 election season. She travels constantly for TV appearances across the country; she jokes that she wants to write a guidebook for Miami International Airport. Moving to New York or D.C. might be more convenient, but she can't quit the city that took her in as an exile more than three decades ago. Time spent here, she says, is like therapy.
"I left Miami a few times in my life. I've always come back as quickly as I can," she says. "When I'm in Miami, I know I'm home... I love the noises, I love the smells of frying yuca, and I love the colors.
"I hate the traffic," she admits, switching into real-talk mode with a raised eyebrow, "and I hate what the humidity does to my hair, and the Zika mosquitoes have me in a state of panic. But other than that, I'm good."
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