Opinion: Hey media, stop crediting Trump for showing "restraint" in his attacks on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford
Author Michael Arceneaux discusses how media has been discussing President Trump’s misogynist language toward Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempted rape.
Early Friday morning, Axios quoted a “White House official” who stressed “you have no idea” how difficult it has been to prevent President Trump from speaking on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who claims that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her 36 years ago.
For days, Trump kept it relatively calm by his standards, not going out of his way to assail the character of Dr. Ford—a tactic he usually employs to his detractors, especially if they happen to be women.
“I feel so badly for him that he is going through this to be honest with you,” is what Trump told reporters earlier this week. “I feel so badly for him. This is not a man that deserves this.”
As a result of managing to offer a minuscule effort of maintaining basic human decency, he was lauded unnecessary praise by cable pundits whose cushy television contracts would serve the Republic greater purpose if they were tossed in a lake of fire. (The same goes for any other political media person who loathes the word “pundit” but indeed offers punditry.)
Moreover, according to CNN, aides were “quietly stunned by Trump’s respectful handling of Kavanaugh’s accuser.” In the aforementioned Axios story, Trump was described as exercising “rare restraint” by simply saying at a political rally in Las Vegas, “I’m not saying anything about anybody else. So we gotta let it play out…I think everything is going to be just fine.”
How could anyone paying attention to this administration and the maniac leading it ever have anticipated Trump’s so-called “restraint” to last? More importantly, why does this man continue to get kudos for essentially not being the worst human being to ever serve as the American president for a few hours? Every day I have to ask myself what is wrong with the people in this administration, and what is the cheat code for failing up?
Lastly, even if expressed in a softer than usual tone, there is a clear sentiment being conveyed by Trump’s remarks: His first instinct is to defend the accused, rather than rally behind the accuser.
He doesn’t take sexual assault seriously, and has already shown us his total disregard for victims of sexual assault, so of course Sweet Potato Saddam couldn’t resist the urge to be himself and debase Dr. Ford on Twitter, his de facto online burn book.
Leave it to the father of that walking wastebasket Donald Trump Jr. and the equally terrible Eric Trump to have the gall to take shots at someone else’s parenting. Leave it to someone who may be famous for the phrase “you’re fired” to be seemingly incapable of firing underlings he claims he cannot stand. (Shout out to Attorney General Jeff Secessionist.)
Naturally, the backlash to Trump was swift. Presently, the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport is trending, where women and men who have survived sexual assault are highlighting the fact that the language expressed by Trump is exactly why they were reluctant to turn to law enforcement. Indeed, there is a reason why 63% of women never report their assault as noted by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Yet, as disgusting as Friday morning’s remarks were, I can’t help but find myself just as frustrated with the comments made by media earlier in the week.
Why did anyone bother to attach the kindler, gentler (but still misogynist) narrative to Trump to begin with?
Now that Trump is speaking about Ford with the type of sexist language we expect from him, one recalls a passage from Bob Woodward’s book Fear, which chronicles the crisis of the current administration, and details Trump’s advice to a friend about the #MeToo movement and sexual assault accusations:
Trump is a man that has been accused of raping his wife, sexually assaulting more than a dozen women, and taking far too much comfort in being able to stroll into the dressing rooms of young women and teenage girls. And in dismissing some of his own accusers, he noted that they weren’t attractive enough for harassment.
As president, he has since supported a man credibly accused of sexually abusing underage girls for the U.S. Senate. Now his Supreme Court pick has been accused of attempted rape. And in each case where both nominees were accused of sexual abuse, his sympathy was addressed to those men, rather than to their accusers. That’s what happens when an accused sexual assaulter is given ultimate power and the biggest platform in the world.
So to those who tripped over themselves to credit a creep for sort of choosing his words wisely for a few days, do us all a favor and decide to shut up or wake up.
Trump, no matter the tone in which he spoke, has made it clear that he is an advocate for the predator. Describe him as such. He’s earned it.
Michael Arceneaux is the New York Times bestselling author of the newly released book I Can’t Date Jesus from Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Essence, The Guardian, Mic, and more. Follow him on Twitter.