The chattering classes have been using the words “Donald Trump” and “sexism and misogyny” in the same sentences for decades now. It did not matter much when he was a real estate developer and reality television star, but it matters tremendously now that he is president of the United States. It matters both to Americans for whom he makes lifechanging decisions and to people who watch us all around the world and who are also affected by his actions.
Trump apologists say they are disappointed and personally would not say such things, but that we should not worry — it is just “Trump being Trump.” Each of us can decide that for ourselves. Here, in his own words, are actual documented quotes Trump has uttered about women in general and some women in particular. He and his staff have tried to reinterpret some of them, but no one has denied he actually said these things.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump attacked both prominent women and private citizens.
Revealing an unsettling interest in bodily functions, he ridiculed Hillary Clinton for going to a ladies’ restroom, using the word “disgusting.” And who can ever forget his characterization of news anchor Megyn Kelly when he said she “had blood coming out of her where ever.”
Also opinionated about women’s looks, Trump slammed fellow Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina saying, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” He did not care for Clinton’s appearance either, commenting, “I just don’t think she has a presidential look. And you need a presidential look.”
Private citizen Ghazala Khan also drew Trump’s scorn. The mother of an American soldier who was killed in Iraq stood beside her husband as he spoke at the Democratic convention. Trump criticized the grieving mother, suggesting she “wasn’t allowed to have anything to say,” because she is a Muslim.
Incredibly, Trump’s views of women were apparently even more toxic before he went into politics. His 2005 comments about being attracted to beautiful women are well-known. “You know I am automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them,” he said. “It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. And when you are a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p***y; you can do anything.”
But these words are hardly the most shocking. During proceedings related to a real estate lawsuit, Trump objected to an attorney taking a break to breastfeed her infant. “You’re disgusting,” he said, and walked out of the room. Stunningly, he also suggested that he might like to date his daughter, Ivanka. “Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one,” he said. “If I weren’t happily married, and ya know, her father….” He also told Howard Stern in a 2004 interview that he did not mind if Stern referred to Ivanka as “a piece of a**.”
Trump’s feud with comedian Rosie O’Donnell is well-known and exceptionally cruel and hypocritical. “We’re all a little chubby, but Rosie’s just worse than most of us,” he said. “But it’s not the chubbiness — Rosie is a very unattractive person, inside and out.”
A quick Google search reveals much more, some of which I could not bring myself to transcribe.
Most Americans — those who voted for him and those who did not — are under no illusion that any of this is going to change. Donald Trump is our president, with both the right to free speech and the international spotlight to make sure everyone hears exactly what he says and tweets. We are just going to have to live through it.
The red flags here are not Trump’s obvious disdain for women other than as beautiful and sexual objects. The red flags are that his attitude will become an acceptable social norm — that it will become OK for other men, and sadly women as well, to speak in such painful and degrading ways. Young people who are still forming their views hear Trump’s words. Just as Americans have looked up to presidents since George Washington, we may come to see Trump’s views as acceptable.
The rest of the world hears all this as well, and the international community is forming opinions not only of our president but of us for tolerating and, in some cases, embracing his views of women.
Would any of us tolerate someone saying such things about our mothers, sisters, wives and daughters?