In a presidency riddled with missteps, oversights and disastrous decisions, it’s difficult to pinpoint the biggest mistake of President Donald Trump’s relatively short time in office. But the driving force behind some of Trump’s most substantial scandals and failed ambitions is his inability to take women, and particularly women of color, seriously. With Trump blinded by misogyny, it may very well be his rampant sexism that will prompt his public downfall.
Case in point, one of the biggest stories in America right now is the battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. What seemed like a relatively simple confirmation has been complicated by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who came forward with disturbing sexual assault allegations against Trump’s candidate. Ford’s allegations have delayed the Senate Judiciary Committee vote and called into question, among other things, Kavanaugh’s character and capacity to serve a lifetime appointment honorably.
A president accused of sexual misconduct by over a dozen women is now watching from the sidelines as a sexual assault survivor puts his Supreme Court appointment in jeopardy.
A president accused of sexual misconduct by over a dozen women (Trump denies the allegations), who, according to Bob Woodward, allegedly said you have to “deny, deny, deny, and push back on these women” when you’re accused of sexual assault, is now watching from the sidelines as a sexual assault survivor puts his Supreme Court appointment in jeopardy. (Even Ivanka is reportedly urging her father to “cut bait” and rescind Kavanaugh’s nomination.) One brave woman has positioned herself squarely between Trump and something he clearly craves — a legacy-building conservative Supreme Court.
That’s only the tip of Trump’s sexist achilles heel, though. Trump and those remaining loyal to him have long underestimated the determination and intelligence of Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, the two women who helped kickstart the investigation into Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen. The disrespect shown these women isn’t exactly subtle. During an interview at the Globest Capital Market Conference in Tel Aviv, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani openly attacked Daniels’s character, saying, “I don’t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman, or a woman of substance, or a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman, and as a person.”
Mirroring his boss, who has categorized women based on their looks and their professions, Giuliani seemed to be under the (mistaken) impression that Daniels could be bullied into silence. And yet, a few months later Cohen pleaded guilty, in the process indicating that Trump is guilty of violating campaign finance laws — at the very least.
Trump’s treatment of friend-turned-foe Omarosa Manigault Newman is similarly revealing. The former aid to the president has spent the past few weeks revealing numerous secretly taped conversations between herself, Trump, and other key players in the White House, including White House chief of staff John Kelly. Trump took to Twitter to bash Newman as a “crazed, crying lowlife,” calling her a “dog,” “wacky,” a “loser,” and someone who is “vicious but not smart.”
And yet, Newman has, at the very least, highlighted the White House’s extreme level of disfunction. She may not be in possession of a smoking gun, but she has added several colorful brushstrokes to an increasingly concerning portrait of this administration and its supposed leader. Instead of the American people focusing on what Trump considers political wins — his trade policies and tariffs, the economy, and thawing relations between North and South Korea — many Americans remain focused on the ever-revolving door of White House staffers and the chaos that’s said to be ensuing inside the West Wing.