On national TV, Mia Love says Trump is not racist but Democrats are

(Leah Hogsten | Tribune file photo) Mia Love, the two-term Republican representative from Utah's 4th Congressional District held a press conference at the Utah Republican Party headquarters, Nov. 26, 2018 to discuss her accomplishments, Washington politics, President Donald Trump and her future.

Just-defeated Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, told a national TV audience Friday that race was not behind President Donald Trump publicly mocking her election loss, but race indeed was the reason Democrats worked hard to oust her.

Democrats “targeted me because I am a black female Republican. And they replaced me with a middle-aged white male,” Love said on ABC’s The View. She lost by 694 votes to Democrat Ben McAdams.

“There was a whole lot of money in an R+13 district that went to take me out,” she said. “They tried to get rid of every single diversity that they possibly could. And to me, diversity on the left side is good [only] if you think the same way [they] do.”

She said Democratic policies are designed to keep poor people poor and dependent on that party, but Republican policies aim to lift them up toward self-sustaining independence — and she was targeted for such views.

Ana Navarro, one of the show’s several hosts in its chatty format, pushed back. She asserted Democrats went after her because “they wanted the majority, so if it means taking out the only black Republican, they did it. ... I don’t think to them it was targeting a black woman.” Democrats won back the House majority in the election.

Meanwhile, Love — the only black Republican female House member in history — refused to go along with suggestions from hosts that Trump may be racist and “danced on the grave of her campaign” in part because of race.

While votes were still being counted, Trump famously criticized Republicans who did not sufficiently embrace his views nor use him more in their campaigns. “Mia Love gave me no love and she lost,” Trump said. “Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”

Hosts asked Love why she felt he said that — and noted that her concession speech seemed to suggest race may have played a part, including saying Trump and Republicans don’t have deep relationship with minorities, only transactions.

“I don’t think it was about race,” Love said Friday. “I think it was about him getting credit for the release of Joshua Holt,” a Utahn released from prison in Venezuela after U.S. pleas including those from Love and the Trump administration.

Probably because Trump felt slighted on that issue, she said, “He thought he didn’t need me anymore” so he probably thought, “we’ll just go and throw her under the bus.”

Navarro pushed back again, noting that when Love had clashed with Trump, race was usually an apparent component — such as when she criticized him for reportedly calling Haiti a sh------ country, and when she fought his moves to take away temporary refugee status for Haitians. Love’s parents immigrated from Haiti.

But Love said that rather than such issues being about race, “To me those were American issues. Those were right or wrong issues.”

When hosts asked if she thought Trump is racist, Love said, “I’m not going to get in his head and decide what he is.”