It's hard to imagine anyone following the jaw-droppingly awful speech at Monday night's Republican National Convention by Donald Trump Jr. — who said that the election came down to voting for “church, work, and school” or “rioting, looting, and vandalism” — with something even more horrific. But, leave it to Kimberly Guilfoyle — aka Don Jr.'s girlfriend, who also serves as President Donald Trump's national finance chair — to get the job done. And get it done loudly.
“They want to destroy this country and everything we have fought for and hold dear,” Guilfoyle shouted. “They want to steal your liberty, your freedom!” Guilfoyle's, um, theatrical approach to her speech was not only an opportunity for her to wax
ed poetic about the president, but was also a chance for her to decry the "dangerous socialists" apparently running the Democratic establishment. “Don’t let the Democrats take you for granted!” Guilfoyle said. “Don’t let them step on you. Don’t let them destroy your families, your lives, and your future! Don’t let them kill future generations because they told you and brainwashed you and fed you lies that you weren’t good enough!”
As if this weren't all over the top enough, Guilfoyle cemented her status as the best meme of the night when she punched both arms in the air, passionately declaring: "The best! Is yet! To come!" The internet immediately delivered, drawing comparisons between Guilfoyle and everyone from Disney villains to Dwight Schrute's Mussolini-inspired salesman of the year speech from The Office. And even in the early hours of Tuesday morning, #Guilfoylechallenge began to trend on Twitter.
Memes and Twitter commentary aside, Guilfoyle’s speech contained a dangerous amount of misinformation. In her first 30 seconds, she said something with no supporting evidence at all: “He built the greatest economy the world has ever known, for the strivers, the working class, and middle class.”
But perhaps what Guilfoyle meant to say was that the economy has been great under Trump, as long as you're part of the 1%. Thanks in part to Trump administration-passed relief legislation during the pandemic, American billionaires have added $637 billion to their net worths while tens of millions of other Americans are out of work and waiting for supplemental unemployment that may never come.
Guilfoyle also made fact-checkers cringe when she said that her mother was an "immigrant" from Puerto Rico, since all Puerto Ricans are born with U.S. citizenship, they can't really immigrate to America any more than someone moving from New York can immigrate to California. However, Guilfoyle's reference to herself as "a first-generation American" isn't entirely incorrect. According to the Washington Post, her father moved to the United States from Ireland.
Guilfoyle's impassioned speech, which likened Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to socialists, was predictably fear-mongering, with pretty transparently authoritarian aesthetics. It is also a continuation of the false rhetoric Trump constantly spews, in which he presents himself as an alternative to scary socialist policies, like universal health insurance, affordable housing, and increased taxes on the country's billionaires. Terrifying!
Perhaps the scariest part of this whole thing is that this was a pre-taped speech — as in, the RNC could have re-recorded it if they 'd thought it had come out badly. But they didn't think that. This is the message they want you to see.