To paraphrase Maya Angelou: “You’ve got to trust people when they show you who they are the first time.”
In 2016, a woman named Pamela Taylor made herself a national figure, but not for a good reason. One of her Facebook posts went viral, and it made her a topic of discussion on news shows and around dinner tables throughout the country. The problem for Taylor is that it wasn’t a cute cat video she posted that went viral, it was a racist rant, complete with her calling Michelle Obama an “ape in heels.”
Clay County Development director Pamela Ramsey Taylor made the post following Trump’s election, saying: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.” (W-SAZ)
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The post went super-mega viral, and it ended up costing Taylor her job as an official in Clay County, West Virginia.
Now, look, I don’t want to generalize, but a racist woman in city government in West Virginia is about as surprising to me as taking a shower and getting wet in the process. And I would’ve been content to never read another story about Pamela Taylor again. Losing a job because your racist comments go viral and slinking back into anonymity seems like a very fitting end to a story like Pamela’s.
Pamela wasn’t done being Internet famous for doing garbage people things, though.
Just this week, Taylor’s name re-entered the headlines. In court, Taylor admitted that the same year she lost her job, she also made the monumentally stupid decision to steal money from flood victims. Taylor admitted to embezzling about $18,000 from FEMA disaster relief funds by filing false claims. That year her area had been hit with devastating flooding, and apparently Taylor wanted in on that action.
U.S. District Attorney Mike Stuart prosecuted the case and he excoriated Taylor for her behavior in a statement released after she entered he guilty pleas.
“The flood was a natural disaster. Stealing from FEMA is a man-made disaster,” Stuart said in a news release. “The floods of June 2016 were historic and devastating to thousands of West Virginians. Lives were lost. Too many of our brothers and sisters lost everything. FEMA dollars are critical but limited. Stealing critical FEMA dollars is a crime – literally and figuratively. Taylor’s fraud scheme diverted disaster benefits from our most desperate and vulnerable, those most in need of help.”
I wonder if Taylor was one of those Trump supporters who was gleefully chanting “Lock her up!” at rallies. I also wonder if we can make an exception in gender housing regulations and put her, Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen in the same cell. If there’s room for Donald Trump Jr. in there, all the better.
What was Taylor’s motivation, I wonder? Is she such a “small government” conservative that she thought stealing federal disaster relief money was like stealing from the government, thereby making it smaller? Was she showing Democrats the subtle, fine line between being a “taker” and being an “embezzling, racist, grifter grandma,” perhaps? We might never know.
Regardless of her reasons, she get could get the book thrown at her for her crimes.
Taylor faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 when she is sentenced May 30.
So much for Team Trump being all about “law and order,” eh? Maybe they just weren’t clear enough. Maybe they meant “breaking the laws we want, in the order we want to break them in.” I’m not sure.
All joking aside, stealing money from people who need it after their homes were destroyed is the lowest of the low. While we incarcerate way too many people in this country to hold that tight a grip on the whole “land of the free” thing, Taylor should be held accountable for re-victimizing people who were already victims of a natural disaster.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.