Ken "Statue of Liberty" Cuccinelli Wanted to Ban All Oral and Anal Sex. Yes, This Is What Trump's Fundamentalist Head of Immigration Believes, in Addition to Only Welcoming White Immigrants to the US.
August 17, 2019
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH
Ken Cuccinelli, Trump’s point person on immigration, this week added to the shock politics, ideology and racism of the Trump administration by defaming the Statue of Liberty.
First, he asserted that the statue in New York Harbor and the poem on its pedestal, “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, only represented the US welcoming White Europeans of means. Then he doubled-down by removing a replica of the Statue of Liberty from the entrance to the Department of Homeland Security, but only after taking a selfie of himself in front of the replica and tweeting it, with the words “welcome immigrants” cropped out.
One can dismiss Cuccinelli as just another Trump toady. However, Cuccinelli has a sordid past as a right-wing religious extremist during his years as a politician in Virginia, where he was a legislator and served as the state’s attorney general. He narrowly lost a race for governor to Democrat Terry McAuliffe in 2014.
Cuccinelli was an anti-LGBTQ, anti-immigrant, anti-science Christian religious fanatic who even objected to the state seal of Virginia, Why? Because it included an exposed breast of Virtus, the Roman Goddess. Cuccinelli had lapel pins of the state seal made for his staff that covered up Virtus’ breast. Similarly, John Ashcroft, another religious extremist, had a drape put over an exposed breast on a statue during a Washington news conference when he was attorney general in the George W. Bush administration.
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As Virginia attorney general, Cuccinelli also pursued litigation against climate scientists. In addition, he authorized aggressive police stops of “suspected” undocumented immigrants. You get the picture: Cuccinelli is a Republican religious white nationalist wacko.
What has not been discussed during his tumultuous initial tenure as immigration chief is one of his more sensational missions while he was engaged in Virginia politics.
Here is the headline from a 2013 Cosmopolitan article, when Cuccinelli was running for governor (while still serving as attorney general of the state): “Dude Running For Virginia Governor Wants To Ban All Oral And Anal Sex.”
Cuccinelli claims that his opposition to oral sex is based on attempts to stop child trafficking, but Anna Breslaw, author of the 2013 Cosmopolitan article, isn’t buying it:
The real driving force here, as it so often is, is that Cuccinelli thinks that any sexual act besides old fashioned, just-like-Mom-used-to-make, heteronormative vaginal penetration is for godless deviants, so he came up with a wacky little cover story to turn Virginia into Salem, Massachusetts circa 1692. Cuccinelli also seems completely unaware that one thing that's universal — regardless of race, gender, nationality, or party lines — is into oral sex: The CDC reports that 82 percent of men and 80 percent of women from 15 to 44 years old have engaged in it.
Neither is Slate — which also covered Cuccinelli’s oral sex fixation — buying it. Back in 2013, Amanda Marcotte refuted Cucciinelli’s claim that his proposed reinstatement of a state “Crimes Against Nature” law — which was thrown out by the US Supreme Court in 2003— was narrow in focus:
Cuccinelli’s claim is that only by reinstating the Crimes Against Nature law, which Cuccinelli dishonestly calls the “Anti-Child Predators Law,” can the state of Virginia prosecute people who rape children. Never mind that rape is already illegal, child molestation is already illegal, and statutory rape is already illegal….
Like his peers, Cuccinelli knows that you’re supposed to come up with a reason these anti-sex measures aren’t really about sex, but never has a man been so bad at maintaining a cover story. He swears that the law won’t be enforced as written to prosecute consensual sex between adults, even though the Supreme Court ruling that made this type of ban unconstitutional, Lawrence v. Texas, was in fact about arresting a couple having consensual sex in private. Cuccinelli’s “just trust me” argument is especially hollow in light of his past behavior, as reported by Think Progress:
In 2004, a bipartisan group in the Virginia General Assembly backed a bill that would have brought the law in line with the Supreme Court’s ruling. They proposed to eliminate the Crimes Against Nature law’s provisions dealing with consenting adults in private and leaving in place provisions relating to prostitution, public sex, and those other than consenting adults. Cuccinelli opposed the bill in committee and helped kill it on the Senate floor.
Cuccinelli’s religious fanaticism as an elected official in Virginia reminds us that hidden just below the surface of Trump’s brash vulgarism and promiscuity is an administration who has gone a long way (think Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court) toward including religious wingers in the executive branch and on the federal bench. This is to help keep the evangelicals backing him as voters despite his blasphemy.
Fortunately, Cuccinelli was never able to persuade the legislature to pass a new “Crimes Against Nature” law in Virginia. After all, if oral sex were outlawed, it would be hard to continue promoting tourism in the state with the slogan, “Virginia is for lovers.”
And for those who missed the two articles posted on BuzzFlash on Cuccinelli’s tortuously turning the Statue of Liberty into a Trump symbol that only white immigrants are welcome in the US, you can find them here and here.
What Cuccinelli’s obsession with oral sex portends for immigration detention policies is anybody’s guess. Just remember, the large lesson to take home here is that he is a Christian patriarchal authoritarian, and that informs his carrying out his role as head of US immigration. Too bad that he, like Trump, is actually the antithesis of Christian compassion.