Donald Trump’s endorsements are the latest example of his misogyny

Loyalty trumps all other traits in the former president’s world

Eric Garcia
Friday 08 October 2021 23:02
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Donald Trump may no longer be president, but for much of the GOP, especially those who wrongly believe the 2020 election was stolen from him, his endorsement essentially clears a GOP field. But his vanity means that he often endorses whoever heaps praise upon him in the most pathetic or obsequious ways, without considering whether the candidate is actually electable.

That impulse can cause headaches for Republicans and those close to him. The Associated Press reported that Trump has failed to properly vet Republican candidates with sordid histories with women that often include allegations of abuse. This includes former football player Herschel Walker, who Trump urged to run for Senate for months and froze out other likely more electable Georgia Republicans, and the AP revealed allegations that he threatened to kill his wife. Similarly, as his former press secretary, Stephanie Grisham has conducted her book tour, she has alleged that Max Miller, who worked in the administration with him, abused her even after she confided in Trump about it. Miller denies the claims and has filed a libel lawsuit against Grisham.

The slew of candidates with allegations of being abusive or generally terrible towards women prompted one Trump donor to tell the AP: “There is no vetting process – at least not on policy and electability.” But another theory might be that Trump hasn’t refrained from endorsing them because as a man who has consistently shown disdain for women who challenge him, misogyny is not a disqualifying factor.

During the first Republican primary debate, one of the first questions Megyn Kelly asked him was about his history of misogynistic comments, including “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals”. But rather than backing down from it, Trump retaliated by calling her a “bimbo” and said Kelly “had blood coming out of her eyes. Or blood coming out of her wherever.” Such crude comments would have in the past disqualified Republican politicians (indeed, Todd Akin, the former Republican Missouri Senate candidate who talked about “legitimate rape” and sunk his campaign was a political cautionary tale; he died this week ). But Trump faced no consequences; he still spouts nonsense on Fox News, while Kelly is no longer on the network.

Trump’s history of misogyny doesn’t need explaining, but he found that he would face no consequences for his poor treatment of women. He said Barack Obama “schlonged” Hillary Clinton, whom he called a “nasty woman”, and bragged about sexually assaulting women, infamously declaring on a leaked Access Hollywood tape, “when you’re a star, they let you do it”. After perfunctory Republican outrage, the party rallied around Trump and he won the presidency.

Similarly, he’s defended both friend and foe when they faced sexual assault allegations. When Christine Blasey Ford accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were younger, he not only supported Kavanaugh steadfastly (which helped the judge get confirmed), he mocked her at a rally with glee. If anything, Kavanaugh facing allegations likely made Trump more sympathetic to him because it reminded him of how multiple women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct of varying degrees.

Even when his opponent Joe Biden faced allegations of sexual assault, instead of using them to bludgeon Sleepy Joe, he empathised with Biden by saying “I’ve had many false accusations made” and that “And maybe it is a false accusation. Frankly, I hope it is for his sake.” For Trump, the impulse is to always side with men because he sees this as the way men should behave and to hold it against them is tantamount to criticising a man for what he considers normal conduct.

But not every candidate is a former reality television show host who was broadcast into people’s homes while he was cosplaying as a billionaire blowhard. Even after Trump’s election, Republican and Democratic men alike, from Roy Moore to Al Franken, have faced consequences for inappropriate behaviour that stems from male entitlement. If someone doesn’t have that wide name recognition, they won’t shake the allegations as easily as Trump did.

That may be the reason why Republicans are fretting that they might lose otherwise winnable races in Pennsylvania’s open Senate race – where Trump has backed Sean Parnell, whose wife requested restraining orders during their divorce – and in Georgia, where Republicans have a legitimate chance to beat Sen Raphael Warnock with a Republican candidate who doesn’t have a litany of allegations against him like Walker. Republicans’ unconditional loyalty to Trump now risks their otherwise winnable races.

But for Trump, loyalty to him precedes any other trait. In fact, if a Trump ally is accused of sexual misconduct, it’s an opportunity for the former president to declare a case of fake news. For Trump and the party he now dominates, dominance and a distaste for “political correctness” makes a candidate worthy of a MAGA endorsement.

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