By Jessica Valenti published
The refrain "not my president" felt awfully appropriate this morning as Donald Trump launched a vicious personal attack against Mika Brzezinski, tweeting that the "low I.Q." MSNBC host was "bleeding badly from a face-lift" on her New Year's Eve visit to Mar-a-Lago. The misogynist slam wasn't unusual for Trump, a man who has a decades-long history of insulting women. But it should serve as a reminder—to Republican women, especially—that this is not a man who will ever have your best interest at heart. Because this is not a man who sees women as full people.
We've long known that Trump sees women primarily as objects. On Howard Stern's show, Trump rated women on a scale of 1 to 10, and noted "I would say I'm the all-time judge, don't forget: I own the Miss Universe pageant." He also bragged on the show about walking into the dressing rooms of contestants—later he'd be accused of walking in on girls as young as 15. Former contestant Carrie Prejean wrote in her book that the president mandated women in the pageants be presented to him so that he could single out those he found attractive and those he didn't: "Many of the girls found this exercise humiliating...some of the girls were sobbing backstage...it was as though we had been stripped bare."
Also on Stern's show, Trump agreed with the radio host that his daughter was "a piece of ass" (the lewd things he's said about her could fill an entire and separate column), and said that after a woman is 35 years old, "it's called check-out time."
Women who anger Trump—women who speak up against him or disagree with him—tend to get the worst of the president's ire. And because he sees women as objects rather than people, he most often targets what he thinks makes a woman most valuable: her looks.
He's called women fat slobs, pigs, and dogs. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Trump made a snide comment about then-opponent Carly Fiorina, saying, "Look at that face!...Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?"
When he felt slighted by Arianna Huffington, he called her unattractive and tweeted out that he understood "why her former husband left her for a man." In 2015, Trump retweeted a sexist attack on Hillary Clinton that read, "If Hillary Clinton can't satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?" The next year, he would share another sexist tweet that read, "The images are worth a thousand words," with side-by-side pictures of Ted Cruz's wife, Heidi (in an unflattering shot), next to his own wife, former model Melania.
And, of course, when Trump was accused of sexual assault by multiple women, he suggested that he wouldn't have done such a thing because they were not good-looking enough to grope.
The president also seems to have a problem with the fact that women's bodies do things other than exist for his visual (or physical) enjoyment. After journalist Megyn Kelly asked Trump pointed questions about his sexism during a Republican primary debate, Trump responded in a CNN interview by suggesting that she must have been on her period, that she had "blood coming out of her...wherever." And after opponent Hillary Clinton was several seconds late coming onto the debate stage after a bathroom break, he said it was "too disgusting" to talk about.
Jessica Valenti is a contributing editor to MarieClaire.com—read her weekly column here.
Jessica Valenti is a columnist and author of five books on feminism, politics, and culture. Her latest book, Sex Object: A Memoir, was a New York Times bestseller. Valenti is also editor of the ground-breaking anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape and the founder of Feministing.com, which Columbia Journalism Review called “head and shoulders above almost any writing on women’s issues in mainstream media.” She has a Master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
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