Trump's Problem With Women Will Tar the GOP

Trump's Problem With Women Will Tar the GOP
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“April is the cruelest month,” wrote T.S. Eliot, and he didn’t even know Donald Trump.  And Trump’s attacks on Heidi Cruz in March have left us in wonder. What Trump cruelties does April hold? Or May, June, and July?

Not content to merely threaten to somehow “spill the beans” on Ted Cruz’s wife, whatever that means, Trump took to Twitter the next night. He sent out an unflattering picture of Heidi alongside his super-model wife, Melania. Never one for understatement, the man who would be our next president passed along the photo under the tweet, “A picture is worth a thousand words” with a caption that read, "No need to 'spill the beans.' The images are worth a thousand words."

Many have pointed out that Trump’s March madness is not presidential, but that’s an understatement. His most recent antics barely qualify as juvenile. In fact, to call it juvenile is an insult to teenage boys. Most would never have engaged in the casual cruelty that is Trump’s stock-in-trade. He’s been called on it repeatedly. He either doesn’t care or cannot care, because this is who he is. It’s embedded deep in the Trump brand.

At this point, it’s not so much about him. We know who Trump is, and he’s not going to change, sister. It’s about the women. It’s what this all says about the women who have enabled Trump. Simply put: How can any smart, supposedly conservative woman support this coiffed and pampered brute? 

After the meanness Trump unleashed on Heidi Cruz this week, only the “battered wife” or Stockholm syndrome suffices as an excuse for women supporting this man.

It’s not like Trump’s late-night tweet assault was a one-off. We’ve been here before. Before Heidi Cruz, there was Carly Fiorina, and the “disgust” Trump marshaled in describing her appearance in a Rolling Stone article. "Look at that face!" he cried. "Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!"

Before Carly Fiorina came Megyn Kelly. Trump called her “crazy” and “a bimbo” with blood “coming out of her eyes and whatever” after the Fox News anchor asked an insufficiently subservient question at the first Republican presidential debate.

And before Megyn Kelly there was Rosie O’Donnell, who was among the women that Kelly was referencing in the setup to her question about Trump’s approach to women: “You've called women you don't like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals.’"

Trump’s response: He was only referring to Rosie, he said, a claim that did not withstand even cursory fact-checking, and explained he didn’t have time for “political correctness.”

To understand how he really views women, let’s revisit a Trump line from a time before he went into politics. In a 1991 interview in Esquire: “You know, it really doesn`t matter what [the media] write as long as you`ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

So from as early as 1991 to as late as last week, Trump treats women as objects to be dominated or mocked.

Democrats will recite these Trumpisms again and again come the autumn election; actually, they are already starting. These recitations will make real the Democrats’ hitherto bogus notion of a Republican “War on Women.” A Trump-Clinton general election will also accomplish what many of us hitherto thought impossible: They’ll make a sympathetic character of Hillary Clinton, especially if Trump goes after her appearance. (Or do only Republican women merit such treatment?)

Behold the man. Trump has no political philosophy, no ideology and no discernible virtue. But there is a pattern and practice– and prejudice – beyond Trump’s will to power, and it has a name. As Franklin Foer wrote last week in Slate, it’s called misogyny. “Humiliating women by decrying their ugliness is an almost recreational pastime for Trump,” writes Foer, who chronicles the carnage.

It’s a profoundly disturbing litany of misogyny in word and deed, one more American women will come to know if Trump wins the Republican nomination.

The answer to Freud’s famous question – What do women want? – may remain elusive. After last’s week’s vicious treatment of Heidi Cruz, there’s only one answer to the question “What do smart conservative women want?” Not Donald J. Trump.

Ann Corkery is a partner at Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner LLP and a former board member of the Beckett Fund.

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