The 2016 election has seen a lot of unusual breakout stars (Ken Bone! Melania’s pink bow blouse!) but Republican strategist Ana Navarro might be our undisputed favorite.
The lifelong Republican and CNN pundit, 44, has suddenly made a big name for herself with her harsh—yet often hilarious—criticism of her own party's presidential nominee, referring to Donald Trump at various times as "this swamp thing" and "orange man with an unidentifiable furry object on his head ranting into the wind.”
"These thing just come out of my mouth," Navarro, a Miami, Florida, resident tells People. "People ask me if I have comedy writers and I'm like are you kidding me? I don't know how people can possibly survive this election without a sense of humor. And a good liquor store."
She recently gained thousands of Twitter followers after a particularly heated (and entertaining) appearance on CNN with Anderson Cooper and staunch Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes, in which she shot down Nell’s comparison of Trump’s molestation accusation to that of a racy novel.
"Sex unfortunately sells," Nell Hughes said of the influence books like 50 Shades of Grey have on American culture and politics in the October 10 CNN segment.
"Everything you just said is 50 shades of crazy!" quipped Navarro. "To compare running for president to an erotic film is crazy."
She adds, "If [Trump] wants to be held to that standard, great, go write the art of the groping!"
Though the blunt strategist is suddenly becoming a household name, she is no newbie to politics. Born in Nicaragua, her father was a freedom fighter for the anticommunist Contras movement that supported by Ronald Reagan in the 1979 Revolution, and she’s been a Republican from the time she was born.
"Given by childhood, I was always involved in politics. It ran in my blood," she says. "I'm not the kind of person that sits around kind of envisioning things. I just do."
Navarro has worked with a number of big Republican names (Jeb Bush, John McCain, Jon Huntsman Jr.), advising on issues like immigration, and was a supporter of Jeb Bush in the GOP primary. But she says the moment Trump "called Mexicans rapists," he lost her vote.
"I'm not even Mexican, I wasn't born in Mexico. But I knew when he said ‘Mexicans’ he meant everyone south of the border," she says. "I have been calling a spade a spade—no, let me rephrase—I have been calling a bigot a bigot since the start, and now people are starting to pay attention."
After the election, Navarro says she hopes to use her newfound popularity to promote commonsense immigration reform and to "get rid of discrimination against any Americans based on gender, sexuality, creed or color."
"When the dust settles from the election, I'd love to get that in motion," she says. "It's become easy for Americans to live in a cocoon of monolithic ideology and thought. It's time to embrace diversity of thought and diversity of experience.And unless I move to a desert island with poor reception, I'll never stop speaking out!"