When Olivia Corn ’19, chair of Cornell University College Republicans, woke up late on Sunday morning and rolled over to check her phone, she found about 70 messages from friends urging her to check Twitter.
Opening the app on her iPhone, Corn saw that Ann Coulter ’84 — the controversial, right-wing pundit and author known for making provocative comments on television and in print — had insulted her early in the morning in a tweet to 1.4 million followers.
“College Republicans at Cornell have always been useless weanies,” Coulter said in the tweet, which she posted alongside a New York Times article in which Corn said being a Republican on a liberal campus is “very difficult.”
“This girl sounds as cowardly as Charles Murray,” Coulter wrote in the tweet.
Corn told The New York Times she was shoved to the ground on campus and called racist shortly after the election of Donald Trump. Cornell Republicans endorsed Gary Johnson for president in 2016.
In an interview with The Sun on Monday, Corn brushed off the tweet, saying the insult made her wonder about Coulter’s priorities.
“The first thought I had was, really? This is what you care about?” Corn said.
But the College Republicans chair also pointed to Coulter’s comments as an example of what she said was a problematic split between Trump supporters and moderate Republicans who disagree with Trump’s policies or rhetoric.
“I think [Coulter is] indicative of a bigger trend of Trump supporters who come out and basically ridicule all of those who didn’t support Donald Trump,” Corn said. “I think that’s a very serious problem, and she just highlighted, with this post, the divide in the Republican Party.”
College Republicans at Cornell have always been useless weanies. This girl sounds as cowardly as Charles Murray: pic.twitter.com/pvybpJW07b
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) March 19, 2017
Corn, who said she is “not a fan” of Trump and voted for John Kasich in the Republican primary, said she thinks of Coulter as similar to conservative host Tomi Lahren and former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
“She makes a lot of statements to anger people,” Corn said. “A lot of the time, she doesn’t have any of these statements based in fact. I think she gives a really bad name to conservatives and Republicans in general.”
More than 180 people responded to the pundit’s tweet, some questioning why Coulter, 55, had decided to insult Corn, 19, over the internet — or at all. Many other users criticized Corn for supporting Johnson, a Libertarian, or acting as a “foot-mat” for liberals.
“Probably smoking the weed with her lib friends,” one Twitter user wrote of Corn.
“Is she from the everyone gets a trophy generation?” another user said. “they don’t know how 2 embraced [sic] harassment 4 doing something right.”
In her interview with The Sun, Corn was both defiant and candid, saying Coulter’s tweet bothered her not because of the personal digs, but because reaction to the post represented a splintering of the GOP that Corn said has taken place during Trump’s ascent to the Oval Office.
“All the comments online really highlighted the divide this country has gone through,” she said. “It’s basically Trump supporters versus non-Trump supporters.”
Coulter’s tweet was liked by more than 1,000 users and reposted by hundreds, including by The Cornell Review, of which Coulter was once editor-in-chief. Efforts to reach Coulter through her literary agent were unsuccessful.
Corn said Coulter should reach out to her directly instead of making her the subject of one of the pundit’s frequent online insults.
“I want [Coulter] to look me in the face and have her tell me what she thinks of me because you can hide behind a computer screen, but I think it takes guts to tell somebody who’s 30 years younger than you — who was assaulted — that she’s a weenie because she didn’t support Donald Trump,’” Corn said.
Referring to Coulter’s previous criticism of Cornell’s contract colleges, Corn shot back at the author, challenging her to a debate and saying she may want to reevaluate her critiques of the University.
“I’ll show her what a real Cornell education looks like, because she misspelled ‘weenie,’” Corn said, laughing.
“You know you’ve done something right when Ann Coulter hates you,” she added.