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“An Alarming History”: Trump Needs To Clear A Higher Bar When It Comes To Women

The New York Times published a rather brutal piece over the weekend on Donald Trump’s problematic history with women. It painted a painful picture:

The New York Times interviewed dozens of women who had worked with or for Mr. Trump over the past four decades, in the worlds of real estate, modeling and pageants; women who had dated him or interacted with him socially; and women and men who had closely observed his conduct since his adolescence. In all, more than 50 interviews were conducted over the course of six weeks.

Their accounts – many relayed here in their own words – reveal unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct, according to the interviews, as well as court records and written recollections. The interactions occurred in his offices at Trump Tower, at his homes, at construction sites and backstage at beauty pageants. They appeared to be fleeting, unimportant moments to him, but they left lasting impressions on the women who experienced them.

The article, according to a spokesperson for the Times, is the most read political story the newspaper has published in 2016.

In response to the piece, we’ve seen some curious reactions from women close to the Republican candidate. His spokesperson, Katrina Pierson, said yesterday, for example, “Women know Donald Trump is a very successful businessperson. He’s raised a wonderful family. His own wife endorsed him for president.”

In a separate interview, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, said, “I’m not in every interaction my father has, but he’s not a groper.”

And Melania Trump, the candidate’s third wife, added in a different interview, “We know the truth. He’s not Hitler.”

So, let’s review. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has an alarming history with women, but (a) he’s not a genocidal groper; and (b) he’s capable of picking up a campaign endorsement from his own wife.

Maybe, when looking for a national leader, Americans may look for a presidential candidate who can clear a higher bar, but this is nevertheless where things stand in the 2016 race.

As for the embarrassment this may cause Trump’s party, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus argued over the weekend, in reference to a question about the Times article, “I’ve got to tell you, I think that all these stories that come out – and they come out every couple weeks – people just don’t care.”

Well, Republican primary voters didn’t seem to care, but the national electorate may bring a very different perspective to the table.

Postscript: One of the notable parts of the Times article highlighted an anecdote in which Trump asked Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee, Miss Universe at the time, for her opinion about his daughter’s body.

” ‘Don’t you think my daughter’s hot? She’s hot, right?’ ” Lee recalled him saying. ‘I was like, ‘Really?’ That’s just weird. She was 16. That’s creepy.”

Olivia Nuzzi explained why Trump may have said something like this: “Trump says creepy things about Ivanka being hot because, to him, hot is the most valuable thing a woman can be. It’s not about wanting to sleep with his daughter. It’s about his daughter’s worth and, by extension, his own worth.”

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, May 18, 2016

May 19, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Nominee, Reince Priebus | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Suddenly, Ted Cruz Seems Like A Gentleman”: Into What Kind Of Weird Cosmic Rat-Hole Have We Let Ourselves Be Dragged?

Pinch yourself, hard.

The unthinkable, the unimaginable, the impossible is happening.

People are actually feeling empathy for Ted Cruz.

What does this say about our beloved America? Into what kind of weird cosmic rat-hole have we let ourselves be dragged?

One of the coldest, most despised figures in the Senate, Cruz is endeavoring to appear human. The same snide jerk who led the costly, unpopular Republican shutdown of the government is now warming hearts for the way he rushed to the defense of his wife, Heidi.

For this Frankenstein turn of events we can thank Donald Trump.

In case you hadn’t heard, the spouses of the two GOP presidential front-runners were the hot topic in the race last week. Second were the terrorist attacks in Brussels.

The wife feud ignited when an anti-Trump super PAC republished a naked photo of Melania Trump, a former model.

Before you stop reading and go Google the picture, you should know that the anti-Trump super Pac is called Make America Awesome Again. It is run either by hapless idiots or evil geniuses.

Cruz adamantly asserts he had nothing to do with the political ad featuring the future Mrs. Trump, posing 16 years ago for the British edition of GQ magazine. The Melania photo was supposedly dredged up to target Mormon voters, who would be so offended by her nakedness that they’d turn to Cruz instead.

The idiot theory holds that some bozo working for this PAC actually stood up and said: “Hey, I’ve got a fantastic plan to stop Donald. Let’s publish a picture of his incredibly beautiful wife with no clothes on!”

However, the genius theory says this ad wasn’t really designed to stir up the Mormons. It was meant to provoke the Big Orange Trumpster.

Under any other circumstances, Trump would have been elated to see a nude photo of Melania splashed all over the media and Internet. He brags about her physical attributes to just about anyone with a microphone.

And if he had a serious brain under that teased monkey pelt on his head, he would have laughed off the ad, printed up T-shirts with the picture and started selling them at his rallies.

But no, that would have been way too cool, way too smart. Instead, Trump impulsively launched into one of his spluttering Twitter attacks, threatening to “spill the beans” about Cruz’s wife, Heidi.

Nobody knew what on Earth Trump was babbling about. Heidi Cruz is an executive at Goldman Sachs in New York, and one of her husband’s top fundraisers.

Rather, his next move was to re-tweet a nasty post by one of his followers. It was an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz positioned side-by-side with a glamour shot of Melania. The meme caption: “No need to ‘Spill the Beans.’ The images are worth a thousand words.”

And with that Trump once again answered the question that many millions of Americans wonder daily: Could he possibly be more loathsome?

Cruz shrewdly responded by taking the high road, or what passes for a high road in this gutter-fest of a campaign:

“Donald, real men don’t attack women,” he tweeted. “Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.”

Aw. Meet sweet, calm, tender Ted. Where’s he been hiding all these years?

After seeing his wife coarsely mocked in public, he reacts with a gentle scold, a compliment to Mrs. Trump and reiteration of his own devotion to Heidi.

Trump ends up looking like a pig, while Cruz ends up looking almost like a gentleman.

If you’re Donald, it must feel like you’ve been schooled.

Cruz’s denials notwithstanding, he is more than slippery enough to have masterminded this whole scenario, knowing Trump would overreact in the lowest, meanest way.

That’s the genius theory — Cruz knew in advance about the nude Melania attack ad, and he threw it out there as bait.

The idiot theory says Cruz didn’t know — it was simply a campaign screw-up that turned into a golden gift.

Either way, presidential politics has entered a new rodent phase that can only drag us deeper and dirtier. November can’t come soon enough.

OK. Now go Google that silly photo if you want.

 

By: Carl Hiaasen, Columnist for the Miami Herald; The National Memo, March 30, 2016

March 31, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Ted Cruz | , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Internet Woman-Haters Flock To Daddy Trump”: Donald Trump’s Heidi Cruz Attack Excites Men’s Rights Activists

Once again, Donald Trump is amplifying the voices of people who have been marginalized for good reason, electrifying the angry who have felt shut out of the mainsteam conversation.

He’s done it for white supremacists by sharing bogus, racist crime statistics, and having black students barred from his events. And now he’s doing it for misogynists.

A little before midnight on Wednesday, Trump manually retweeted an image juxtaposing an unfortunate picture of Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, with a clearly posed image of Trump’s own wife, Melania, who happens to be an internationally recognized model. “A picture is worth a thousands words,” it reads, with a caption on the image saying “No need to Spill the Beans,” referencing a threat Trump had made the night before on Twitter, his 24/7 live feed to cable news.

So-called men’s rights activists applauded, praising Trump for his virility and the attractiveness of his wife, and cheering that their ideas were at last getting a wider hearing. Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh, leader of the “pro-rape” organization Return of Kings, told The Daily Beast that the tweet was warranted.

“Trump’s actions are justified self-defense,” he said. “Cruz got one of his Super PAC’s to denigrate Melania and so Trump did the appropriate thing in defending his wife’s honor by retweeting an image made by a supporter. If a man goes after your wife, I hope you have the balls to defend her by attacking back.”

When informed that Cruz had nothing to do with the ad in question and told The Daily Beast on Wednesday that he condemned it, Valizadeh would not be moved.

“That doesn’t appear to be a proven fact,” he said. “Even if it is, for Cruz to be completely unaware of the actions of his campaign network shows incompetence and a lack of awareness that is not at all presidential. The last thing we need is a president who passes the buck when something goes wrong on his watch.”

This sort of implausible deniability is a common trait in some Trump supporters. When it comes to inciting violence, encouraging racist narratives and—in this case—demeaning women, it’s never Trump’s fault. It’s the politically correct left-wing media that misinterprets his actions. And for them, Trump is the mainstream funnel for ideas that have long been relegated to private computers in American basements.

“So, is it really an ‘attack’?” a spokesman for Men Going Their Own Way—a group that preaches the preservation of male sovereignty at all costs, including by staying away from women entirely—asked rhetorically. The spokesman, who didn’t give his name, continued:

“If someone feels ‘attacked’ by a tweet… they should probably get off the Internet.”

As to Trump’s initial threat to “spill the beans,” he said he presumed it was in reference to a 2005 incident in which Heidi Cruz, struggling with depression, was found on the side of a Texas highway, which he referred to as her “nutcase meltdown.”

He also, unprompted, brought up an online campaign from women threatening to withhold sex from Trump supporters, and shrugged: “As if vagina is more important than America.”

Others tied to the loosely organized MRA movement seemed similarly excited by Trump.

“People who have ugly wives should not comment on other men’s wives,” one user in a private chat room for MRAs said in response to a question from The Daily Beast.

The group hosting the conservation, in which The Daily Beast participated, is meant for believers in The Red Pill, an Internet-generated ideology that purports that men are oppressed and women are not.

“For what it’s worth, I think Trump handled it wrong,” another user chimed in. “His response was defensive, whereas I think the much better response would have been ‘sorry my wife is attractive’ or something along those lines in Trump language.”

“Looks like a good first lady to me, Clinton wouldn’t have been getting blowies by secretaries,” said one.

“She always looks like a dog ready to be put down,” another said of Heidi Cruz.

These are people hiding behind usernames who have never seen their ideas validated by a major political figure until now. There’s an entire section of the The Red Pill subreddit that seeks to explain how Trump’s ideas align with theirs.

It uses Trump’s attack lines against Megyn Kelly, viewed by many as abhorrent and disgusting, to explain the group’s life philosophies.

“Let’s say you are flirting with a hot girl at a party. Maybe you say something uncalibrated and she takes offense. She then calls you out on it. Ask yourself, ‘what would Donald Trump do?’ would he apologize? Nope! Even if you make a mistake, NEVER apologize to a girl. Especially when you’re in public. Sometimes you need to welcome the incoming conflict that develops. Don’t run away from it with the excuse of ‘I don’t want to rock the boat’ or ‘I will look like an asshole.’ This is EXACTLY what the girl wants you to do and think.”

But what more could one expect of a guy who once wrote in his 2007 book Think Big and Kick Ass in Business and Life: “The women I have dated over the years could have any man they want; they are the top models and most beautiful women in the world. I have been able to date (screw) them all because I have something that many men do not have. I don’t know what it is but women have always liked it.”

Trump, who says things about women like “you have to treat ’em like shit,” and does things like pouring wine on female reporters or bearing witness as his campaign manager physically grabs them, sounds a lot like the Internet commenters in their basements.

It’s just that he’s the leading Republican presidential candidate.

 

By: Gideon Resnick, The Daily Best, March 26, 2016

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Misogynists, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Glorious Pageantry Of The GOP Process”: Ted Cruz And Donald Trump Are Fighting Over Their Wives. This Was Inevitable

Throughout the political world, people are expressing shock, dismay, and disgust at the argument that has broken out between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz over their wives. But this shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. In fact, it was all but inevitable.

To catch you up briefly: First an anti-Trump super PAC put out an online ad directed at Mormon women in Utah with a picture of Trump’s wife Melania posing nude, on the absurd grounds that it constituted a reason to vote against Trump. Then Trump accused Cruz of orchestrating the super PAC ad, and threatened to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife Heidi. Then Trump retweeted a picture of Melania looking like the professional model she was next to a particularly unflattering photo of Heidi, with the caption, “The images are worth a thousand words.” Then Cruz said, “Donald, you’re a sniveling coward. Leave Heidi the hell alone.”

Truly an inspiring moment in the glorious pageantry of the democratic process. But this is what you get when you make Donald Trump the frontrunner of your party. If you know anything about Trump, you should have known that it was going to come to this.

As he does so often, Trump takes what is ordinarily implied in politics and makes it literal. Republicans have long insinuated that their candidates are more manly than their Democratic opponents, whether it was saying that John Kerry “looks French” or mocking Al Gore for wearing “earth tones.” Trump, on the other hand, just comes out and suggests that he has a big penis and his wife is hotter than the other guy’s.

You don’t have to be a trained psychologist to discern that Trump views women largely as objects whose purpose is to demarcate, through their physical appearance, the relative positions men occupy in an eternal contest for domination and status. Just look at his marital history. He married his first wife Ivana, a Czech model who was a mere three years younger than him, when she was 28. Fourteen years later, when Ivana was 42, he divorced her and married Marla Maples, with whom he’d been having an affair. Maples was 29 at the time, and 17 years younger than Trump; a few years later he divorced her as well.  Then he married his current wife Melania, a former Slovenian model who is 24 years his junior. Melania is now 45, and if I were her I’d be looking over my shoulder.

Trump has a long history of misogynistic comments directed at women who cross him (Franklin Foer documents many of them here), and one common strain running through them is the presumption that women’s worth is a function of their appearance. When he wants to be nice to a woman, he tells her she’s beautiful. And when he tangles with another man, he’ll sometimes seek to establish his superiority by asserting that he’s had sex with more women than his opponent; in other words, he has more trophies, so he’s the dominant male.

There was simply no way that Trump was going to get into a one-on-one contest with another candidate and not eventually try to puff out his chest and claim this kind of sexual primacy. Up until now he’s done it to other opponents in slightly more subtle ways (calling Jeb Bush “low energy,” referring to Marco Rubio as “little Marco”), but as the stakes get higher and we near the end of the primaries, his more base instincts and impulses are obviously coming out.

As I argued last week, if Trump and Hillary Clinton are the nominees, this election will likely produce the largest gender gap in American political history. Trump’s unfavorable ratings among women have already hit 75 percent in some polls. And it’s important to understand that controversies like the one with Cruz, where Trump says or does something that women (and plenty of men) immediately understand as sexist, are going to happen again and again, particularly with Clinton as the Democratic nominee. That’s because Trump can’t help himself, and doesn’t even seem to realize what he’s doing. For instance, consider this incident:

“I’d hit you the same way,” Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd in February when pressed on the issue. “I mean, you are the perfect one to ask that question — you have been, you know, under fire from me for a long time, and you are far from a woman.”

“I think there are some women — there’s one sitting right over there in the beautiful red dress. You see that woman over there? I have great respect for that woman over there,” he said, as Todd clarified to viewers that Trump was talking about veteran reporter Andrea Mitchell.

The lack of self-awareness on display here is truly spectacular. Trump thinks that he should be exonerated from the charge of sexism because he attacks men too. And then as proof, he points to Andrea Mitchell, one of the most recognizable journalists in America, and refers to her as “one sitting right over there in the beautiful red dress.” I’m sure he thought he was complimenting her by noting her appearance approvingly. He just doesn’t get it.

As soon as he has the nomination in hand, Trump will start pivoting to the general election in many ways, by changing his emphasis and moderating some of his positions. I’m sure he’ll say, as he has before, that he’ll be great for women because nobody values women more than he does. He may even point to a couple of policy positions, like his opposition to defunding Planned Parenthood, as proof. But every time one of these controversies happens, it digs him deeper and deeper into a hole with women voters, one that’s going to be almost impossible for him to climb out of. And there will be a lot more of them.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, March 25, 2016

March 26, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Women | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Donald Trump And His Subversive Sense Of Humor”: A Man Who Views Assessments Of Women On Their Appearance

I used to have this poster in my office reflecting the timeless wisdom of a relief pitcher named Larry Andersen. Today he does Phillies radio broadcasts. A friend who’s a calligrapher made it for me.

“Hey, you’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”

The poster got lost after we moved, and my wife doesn’t miss it. Possibly because it reflects an aspect of my personality she’s sometimes uneasy with: the part that helps me do a pretty good Donald Trump impression. The part that reflects my bygone youth in New Jersey, the Insult State.

The part that makes her laugh until I imitate Trump attacking Hillary Clinton as a woman The Donald would not want to see naked.

The accent, gestures, and exaggerated mugging all come easy. You’ve just got to imagine a chimpanzee with a trust fund. See, if he hadn’t inherited a couple of hundred million bucks from his old man, Trump would have ended up cheating used car buyers and standing around on New York street corners patting his groin and hooting at passing women with the other primates.

“Hey baby, I got a piece of candy for you. Right here in my pants.”

Like that.

How Trump reacts to finishing second in Iowa remains to be seen. I’m guessing the minute he realizes he can’t bulldoze and bluff his way to the presidency, he’s gone. But at least he’s given us some laughs, more than you can say for most of them.

Which brings us to Trump’s big celebrity feud with Fox News head blonde Megyn Kelly. Has any victim of The Donald’s verbal assaults ever benefited more from his scorn?

Before the two tangled during the first GOP presidential debate, Kelly was best known among the cable channel’s audience of AARP All-Stars—a foot soldier in the annual “War on Christmas” who once indignantly assured viewers that Santa Claus is a white man. Also an imaginary man, but never mind.

Now thanks to Trump, she’s a name brand. It’ll be interesting to watch where the notoriety takes her. At 45, she’s probably too old to be the fourth Mrs. Trump, but wouldn’t that be an entertaining premise for a bad movie?

The feud began, as the world knows, when Kelly, an incisive interviewer, asked The Donald about his practice of calling women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.” He tried to joke his way out of it, but Kelly doubled down, asking about the time he told a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” how cute she’d look on her knees.

A classic bully, Trump whined that Kelly was biased. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” he told CNN.

He’s all chivalry, our Mr. Trump.

Bickering continued until The Donald tried to make Fox News drop Kelly as moderator of its next GOP debate, which he vowed to boycott unless he got his way. CEO Roger Ailes called his bluff. Refusing to show up now looks like a mistake after Iowa. Trump’s going to bully foreign leaders into submission, but a TV executive defied him and he’s afraid of a girl?

Not good for the brand.

Smarting, Trump then said he wouldn’t call Kelly a “bimbo” because it would be “politically incorrect.” That’s Republican-speak for refusing to call a spade a spade. (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Know what they mean?)

Next he reposted some pinup shots of Kelly on Twitter: “Criticizes Trump for objectifying women. Poses like this in GQ magazine.”

I hesitate to admit that I laughed out loud. Low-cut negligee, “Hello, Sailor” look and all, Megyn didn’t much resemble Walter Cronkite.

Not that valuing women strictly as sexual objects was what Kelly complained about. But whatever else you can say about Trump, he’s got a subversive sense of humor.

Should it matter that Mrs. Donald Trump, version 3.0, has herself posed buck nekkid for GQ? Perhaps not, but it’s funny too. Built like a Slovenian outhouse, the fair Melania.

I wonder if Mrs. Trump’s pre-nuptial agreement is fully vested. Because it’s hard to think that First Lady’s a role that would suit her. In some ways, the White House is the jewel of the federal penitentiary system.

Meanwhile, Washington Post reporter Janell Ross, seemingly not from New Jersey, asked some pertinent questions:

“Doesn’t the content of that tweet… strongly support the core theories behind the question that Kelly asked Trump in the very first debate? Is a man who seems to view assessments of women based largely or perhaps only on their appearance fit for the Oval Office in 2016? And, if he is, what are the political ramifications of putting him in office and giving him the bully pulpit?”

The correct answers are: yes, no, and more of the same.

But Melania can rest easy, because it’s not going to happen.

 

By: Gene Lyons, The National Memo, February 3, 2016

February 4, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Fox News, GOP Primary Debates, Sexism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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