Imagine, for a moment, what it must be like to be a member of the Tanc’s entourage. Besides the incredible perks — Pizza Ranch as a diet staple and great networking opportunities (if your career path includes the geriatric care industry) — you’d become accustomed to answering some pretty offbeat questions.
While the phone lines at other congressional and presidential-candidate press offices buzz with calls about the war, education, healthcare and other sorta big issues, Tancredo’s press team regularly answers questions along these lines:
“Exactly what did the Congressman mean when he compared Miami to a Third World country?”
“How does the Congressman respond to the lack of support for his plan to bomb Islamic holy sites?”
“What motivated the Congressman to provide the keynote address at a fundraiser for a hate group?
By now, Tancredo’s lackeys must be fairly thick-skinned bunch. But last week, they got a curveball, when a Colorado newspaper called up to ask if Tancredo happened to have a niece in New Castle, Colorado. And if so, had said niece assaulted a police officer, resisted arrest, displayed disorderly conduct, and engaged in harassment and ethnic intimidation?
Here’s what allegedly went down, as reported in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
Just before midnight on Sept. 4, a New Castle police officer witnessed 26-year old Crystal Ann Tancredo and several other people leave a bowling alley bar, swearing loudly and apparently on the brink of a fight.
The officer intervened, but that didn’t stop Tancredo from flying into a rage and calling one man a “(expletive) wetback” and accusing him of not having his immigration papers, the paper reported.
When the officer ordered Tancredo to move away from the scene, she replied, “I don’t have to move, my uncle is Tom Tancredo,” then slapped the officer’s wrist as he attempted to give back her ID.
When the officer warned that she’d be arrested if she didn’t leave the scene, Tancredo replied, “What, you are going to take the wetback’s word over ours? We are Americans.”
The officer arrested Tancredo and checked her into the Garfield County Jail on suspicion of second-degree assault on a police officer, ethnic intimidation, resisting arrest, harassment and disorderly conduct.
Now, it would seem logical that the two Tancredos — Crystal and Tom — had been cut from the same familial fabric. They share a last name and a loathing for immigrants. In fact, Crystal’s outburst sounds exactly like something Tom might let fly, if he were 26 years old, wore lots of eyeliner and got toasted at a small-town bowling alleys.
Tancredo (Tom, that is) has denied any relation. When called for comment, press secretary Carlos Espinosa told the Post Independent, “Tom said that he is not aware of any relative, niece or anyone related to him that he’s aware of by the name of Crystal Ann or anything along those lines.”
Crystal, however, persisted. After she posted bond, she phoned the Post Independent and claimed to be Tancredo’s great niece, a claim Tom's office is still investigating.
Blood or not, this could be a golden opportunity for Tancredo’s limping presidential campaign. Surely the Tanc’s agile press team could spin it into a fuzzy feel-good story: The benevolent elder racist takes a troubled youth under his patriotic eagle-wing and schools her in the ways of white supremacy, anti-multiculturalism and good, old-fashioned nationalism.
It seems Crystal would be, like, totally down with that. She told the Post Independent that she's met Uncle Tom, but doesn’t spend much time with him because he’s just so darn busy.
“I love what he’s doing,” she said. “The laws and stuff with immigration.”