Donald Trump’s Misogyny

Donald Trump’s Misogyny


Howard Adelman

Why am I spending so much time writing about Donald Trump at this point in the campaign? After all, the presidential battle is virtually over. Hillary Clinton is not only going to win the presidency; she is going to wipe the floor with Donald. She is going to humiliate him. The reason: after the battle is over, I expect the real war to begin. Donald Trump is going to go after Hillary Clinton with revenge in his heart, turbo propelled because the winner was not George Bush Sr. who scorned Trump’s offer to be named as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, but Hillary, a woman. Donald Trump could casually put George Bush Sr. down because the latter failed to complete his war against Saddam Hussein – in total contradiction to his assertion that he always opposed the war in Iraq. And in his mind, he did. For when he finally did oppose the war, it was not really about Iraq – about which he knew very little – but about his revenge against President Bush Sr. and the elites of the Republican Party establishment that had scorned him.

If Donald Trump stewed in his anger and plotted revenge in his heart against the Republican establishment for a quarter of a century, when Hillary wins, he no longer has that much time to exact his revenge. He has already either very seriously injured or even destroyed the GOP. What will he set out to do to Hillary? The humiliation will have been so overwhelming, that he will not be able to control himself. He had been briefed over and over again by his “handlers” to keep on message. He has been told repeatedly not to go off topic instead of drilling down further against women who publicly accused him of forcing himself on them. He had to keep his attention on policy issues. But he simply could not.

Stephen K. Brannon had been named as his campaign’s chief executive defining the grand strategy. Kellyanne Conway was named to replace Paul Manafort in August to manage the campaign to handle the tactics. Ever since she was named, Kellyanne promised us that Donald Trump would “remain true to himself” and stay on message. Instead, he remained true to himself and continually went off message. In the third debate, when staying on message was so critical to stopping and reversing his freefall, his subconscious once again took over as the debate progressed, and he shot himself in both his feet. He would leave everyone in suspense to see if he would accept the results of the election. And he will not accept those results, even if he does formally concede. This response to a question about a fundamental principle in democracy could not be pivoted away from by his surrogates trying to compare such a situation with the Al Gore challenge to the George W. Bush claim of victory.

Unlike Manafort, Conway had not tried to mold Trump into a person he was not. Instead, she tried to channel his energy and ambition in more positive ways to keep him on message. But time after time he let her down. No man, and especially no woman, could determine not only who he was, but about how he appeared. Conway’s latest rationale was to judge Trump by his actions, not his words. But his words both betray and signal the pattern of his actions.

Donald Trump’s second major slip in the third debate was to interrupt Clinton’s reply to a question with the words, “Such a nasty woman,” when, of all things, she was discussing her proposed tax policies, perhaps reminding him of the humiliation to which he had been exposed for having to admit that he had not paid any federal income taxes for perhaps eighteen years. Something “nasty” is, at the very least, something very unpleasant to see or smell, taste or touch, though it also suggests someone morally deficient. If you look up the word in a thesaurus, “dirty,” “filthy,” “foul,” are offered as substitutes. The use of the term echoed his description of Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, as disgusting. Nasty is a word that evokes strong sensual reactions and the subjective response. The repulsiveness is at least as important as the alleged objective circumstances justifying such a description. Dirty and filthy, despicable and morally base, are all characteristics projected onto Hillary Clinton that have so recently been fully displayed by the language and talk uttered by Donald Trump himself. He truly and deeply hates himself as he projects his hatred onto others and further inflates his ego with the hot air inside.

The other face of this record of “slut-shaming” by Donald Trump is that women are put on a pedestal and, not only held to a higher standard of chastity, but certain select women are regarded as the epitome of skill and virtue – such as his daughter Ivanka and the many other women of talent he employs in his company and as surrogates in his campaign. He both advances and admires women, but he denigrates those who resist and oppose him, and demeans those he deems unworthy of his “high standards.” Women must be angels, physically and intellectually beautiful angels, or they are disgusting. His treatment of some of those women serves to verify that conviction.

Donald Trump has flip-flopped on virtually every policy he has proposed. On immigration as recently as 2012, he called Mitt Romney’s immigration policies vis-à-vis illegals mean-spirited and maniacal, denigrations that stand totally opposite to the horrible epithets he himself has hurled against illegal immigrants. This suggests that his misogyny, which has been his most and possibly only consistent position, goes much deeper. In this respect, he can be insulted as a “half-witted harlequin” to match his own insults targeting those illegally on American soil. He can rationalize that dislike as a key part of his strategy to boost wages and job opportunities, when it is well-known that these illegals take the jobs Americans largely will not.

Trump wants to suspend the intake of refugees from areas where Islamic terrorism is rampant, even though it is well known that, given America’s long vetting process, given the fact that those admitted in numbers have been historically and comparatively very low, given that 80% of them are women and children, the risk of entry for terrorists is very low. The focus on refugees as terrorists comes from a verbal and strategic terrorist who depicts illegal immigrants as rapists when he himself was once accused by his first wife of tearing her hair out and raping her when she did not show enough empathy for the pain he had been experiencing as a result of his own hair implants. Perhaps the height of his hypocrisy emerges when he emphasizes vetting immigrants to demonstrate they share America’s values, presumably of those misogynist and anti-constitutional demagogic values of the new head of state that Trump so brashly wanted to become.

You can only imagine how deep that misogyny must go to make his stance on immigration appear as simply a passing fancy. Why make a remark about Megyn Kelly as bleeding from whatever”? Why refer to women’s faces and bodies in such nasty language as when he disparaged his competitor Carly Fiorina’s face. Like a Dr. Jekyll to Mr Hyde, Donald Trump can be very charming, flirtatious and offer women a taste of money and power while he himself is literally cocky, controlling and narcissistic and puts women down in public. He forces himself on women because he will not waste the effort of foreplay to ensure that they get pleasure. He is openly and proudly a cheat.

In Robert Louis Stephenson’s 1886 short novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Edward Hyde is truly evil. Dr. Jekyll, “something of a stylish cast,” is a large well-made, smooth-faced man who is gracious, amiable and considerate. Seeking the presidency was to be The Donald’s ultimate shot to disguise the horror he unconsciously knows exists below his own surface. The rallies and admiring masses inject the adrenaline he needs. But the result, unsurprisingly, is increasingly the emergence of a more emboldened, cruel and remorseless Edward Hyde. After the election, without the continuation of that potent source, Donald Trump will metaphorically die. He has become the addict he always feared. Once Satan has been cast out of heaven and has been rejected as the object of his own creation, the grand mal narcissist will refute the dictum that pride simply goeth before the fall, for though pride precedes the fall, it is also inflated by it as the victim tries even harder to puff himself up and rise once again to heaven.

Donald’s behaviour with women has not been furtive; Trump has not been determined to keep his liaisons hidden. Trump actually wants the public to know about his sex life – hence his boasts, not simply in the “locker room,” but on the media. Until, of course, such boasts undermined his quest for power. So Hillary was advanced from being a crook and promoted to “nasty.” As Michael D’Antanio depicted Donald Trump in the biography he wrote, Trump wants a queen at his side, but he wants to be king.
In the election on 8 November, he will have been usurped by the embodiment of what he despises. Sex is an opportunity to demonstrate power. Sex is an opportunity to demonstrate that you are a stud and an alpha male. At the same time, as D’Antonio emphasized in an interview with Anderson Cooper last night, Donald Trump is a great empty vessel in terrible need of adoration which provides the fuel for the enormous amount of energy that he uses. The implications: he is now addicted to a far larger stage than the one he had as a developer or as a reality TV star. He WILL respond to the movement to which he was crucial to its birth. The 8th of November will not end Donald’s role on the American stage.

Trump meant it when he promised to put Hillary in jail, for he unconsciously knew he faced an eternal cage of self-destructive behaviour if he lost. For this time, he will be unable to rise from the grave a second time. Winning, winning alone, must remain the goal. For to lose is not simply to die, but to suffer an agonizing death. Donald Trump, underneath a very thin skin, is a “bad hombre” who will not only continue, but expand his attacks on an allegedly rigged alliance of the political establishment and the media which he will continue to characterize as dishonest, corrupt, horrible and biased; for him, the combination is infused with poison. This is, of course, a description of himself.

The attempted rise once again of Donald Trump will be an even wilder ride, fuelled again by “process journalists” who regard the news as entertainment. They love reporting on the struggle, the horse race, rather than the issues at stake. They love technique and cleverness. For them. Donald Trump has been a godsend with his attacks on both civility and democracy, the two pillars of our public life. Donald Trump materially may never have attended the school of hard knocks, but he did so morally and physically. The military academy to which he was shipped off at the age of 13 used brutal tactics to tame its delinquent charges. And Trump absorbed the discipline and need to impose “perfection” on his subordinates. And to never be subordinate. There is only winning and domination. And braggadocio. This is his image of his own manhood and virility. It is the Janus face of his misogyny that characterizes women as dogs and slobs. He boasts that “you have to treat them (women) like shit” and will characterize the best line in Pulp Fiction as Sam’s, “Bitch be cool” when he has his pistol in his hand. As Bette Davis said, “When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman givers her opinion [if it does not echo his own], she’s a bitch.”

As the old comic line goes, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” Donald Trump with a post-election gatling gun will be even much more destructive than when he walked the electoral stage carrying a gun and intimidating his Republican competitors.

With the help of Alex Zisman

Donald Trump’s Character: II A “Tolerant” Pushy Promoter

Donald Trump’s Character: II A “Tolerant” Pushy Promoter


Howard Adelman

That should be a title to get attention. Pushy? OK. Promoter? OK. But tolerant? Who am I kidding?

Let me begin with the pushy part. Again, I did a search though all my collection of articles. Not one writer called him “pushy”. Bully, yes, but pushy no. Why? The writers do not even dub him brash and bold, obnoxious or presumptuous. Donald Trump called Meghan McCain, the host of “America Now,” “obnoxious,” but no one seems to have pinned this label on Donald Trump. Even such milder descriptors as self-assertive and ambitious do not seem to have been used much applied to Donald, not at all in my limited knowledge.

At first sight, one would think that any of these descriptors would fit Donald Trump perfectly. Though not applied directly to Donald Trump, Trump University officials during its existence between 2005 and 2010 were dubbed pushy for their sales tactics in getting students to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a non-credited so-called university. They promised students access to the tools and strategies Trump used to make millions in the real estate market. (See Those employees did not advertise that they were teaching them a central trait in the Trump repertoire, pushiness, which they daily demonstrated in their recruitment techniques.

Stronger court charges – two before federal courts and a third in a state court – go far beyond “pushing” and allege the techniques used to recruit students were deceptive, predatory, unscrupulous and fraudulent as the representatives of Trump University allegedly hustled a Gold Elite Package costing $34,995. The promotional booklet provided to the university’s sales force reminded them that, if a potential client started focusing on cost, then shift the conversation to the image of “Trump as the best.” This is almost the same way his presidential campaign is run, only he has to assert it himself instead of one of his lackeys. But Trump himself is rarely labeled “pushy.”

Not only that, but it was Donald Trump who filed a charge of assault against a female reporter who was pushed by Trump’s then campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, against whom David Aronberg, State Attorney for Palm Beach County, decided not to press charges. The reporter, however, was charged in a civil suit launched by Donald Trump for being “pushy.” Perhaps Ted Cruz came closest to calling Donald Trump pushy when he accused Trump of promoting “New York Values,” interpreted as a euphemism for Jewish values, a group historically identified with being pushy. Cops were called pushy when dealing with Trump protesters, but not only was Teflon Trump not so charged, but virtually no one tried to stick him with the label. Perhaps mild-mannered Ben Carson, the former neurosurgeon and other outsider in the race to become the Presidential candidate, tried very indirectly when he insisted that he, Ben, would not be “pushed” out of the race as his poll numbers kept dropping.
Or perhaps, even as the electorate grew increasingly exacerbated by Trump’s incivility and even crudity, especially in response to criticisms from a Muslim American war hero, they were too polite to call Donald Trump “pushy” even when he ejected a mother and her baby from a recent rally. “Get the baby out of here.” He first said he loved babies when the crying distracted him from his speech. “Don’t worry about that baby – I love babies. I love babies. I hear that baby crying, I like it. What a baby, what a beautiful baby. Don’t worry, don’t worry. The mom’s running around, like, don’t worry about it, you know? It’s young and beautiful and healthy and that’s what we want.” After he subsequently asked that the mother and baby be ejected, he reversed positions and stated that he had been sarcastic when he said he welcomed babies crying, “Actually, I was only kidding – you can get the baby out of here. That’s all right, don’t worry. I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking. That’s OK. People don’t understand. That’s OK.”

And that is his pattern. Initially tolerant and loving. Then determined and, yes, pushy. Then he asserts that people misunderstood when he said he loved babies. If babies cried and disrupted his speech, his so-called love is thrown out the window and he re-describes, what everyone listening interpreted as a sincere assertion of love, as a statement of sarcasm. One psychiatric observer suggested that Donald Trump was not a psychopath, but consideration should be given as to whether he is manic and bipolar, but that might be considered an insult to individuals who are.
The one who came closest to calling Donald Trump pushy was his own son, Donald Trump Jr., who in his Republican Convention address with the “bearing of a pushy (my italics) bond trader with slicked-back hair,” as one commentator described him, referred to his father’s “true grit.” This was not quite the same as “pushy,” but as close as anyone I read came to calling Donald Trump Sr. “pushy.” True grit was perhaps a more appropriate phrase often given its very positive connotation in American Western folklore and put on the wide screen in a Cohen brothers’ 2010 film of the same name starring Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin. The movie is a tale of vengeance, but also guts and determination. But mostly it was about never giving up. And that is Donald Trump – vengeful against those who do not give him full support and gutsy and determined even as he has already started making excuses for his coming loss as his erratic behaviour increasingly registers with voters and especially Republican voters. “The system is rigged.” The irony that court rulings have now declared in three cases that in some states the electoral system has been rigged, but not against Donald Trump, but against Black Americans increasingly denied access to the ballot box because they overwhelmingly will not vote for a current Republican candidate in the party ironically founded by Abraham Lincoln, the President who issued the declaration against slavery.

Donald Trump Jr. gave that pushiness and determination a plebeian twist as he described his father hobnobbing with the construction crews, having them teach his kids to drive caterpillars and promoting blue collar workers based on their merits rather than their degrees. “He (Trump Sr.) valued their opinions as much and often more than the guys from Harvard and Wharton locked away in offices, away from the real work.” So Donald Trump pushed downward as well as up. But at his core, he was a “kid from Queens” invading the holy grail of Manhattan carrying the mantle of insecurity and determination of an outsider as he pushed his way in and up while apparently genuinely sharing in the resentments that he recognized in the workers in the rust belt of America, in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

I have described Donald Trump as pushy even though very few even imply such a characteristic and even though The Donald wears that label proudly on his sleeve. However, he is much more clearly a promoter. I have myself described him as promoting a nativist, isolationist, anti-trade agenda. His current campaign manager, Paul Manafort, recently “promoted” to that position, had been a paid promoter of Viktor Yanukovych in the Ukraine, who, in spite of twice being convicted of assault when he was young and losing the position of prime minister, Manafort orchestrated his return to office in 2007 after successfully whitewashing the image of Ukraine as a haven for mobsters, while at the same time managing to develop a number of lucrative side deals for himself.

I would argue that no term suits Donald Trump and his team more than “promoter.” On this there is no shortage of writers who share applying this term to Donald Trump. They may argue whether he is more ambitious in promoting himself than in promoting his suitability to be president, but whatever he does, he is a promoter. I do not know whether Paul Manafort has been a conduit to obtain Russian money for investment in Trump’s enterprises, but given the pro-Putin Trump comments and Trump’s position on the Ukraine (“the people of Crimea, from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.”), one has to be, at the very least, suspicious. This is especially true given all his contradictory statements on Putin and the Ukraine in his recent interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC. (Yes, the same George who used to be on CBC.) “He’s (Putin’s) not going into Ukraine, okay, just so you understand. He’s not gonna go into Ukraine, all right?” and then less than a minute later admitting that Putin had already taken over a part of Ukraine and then denying, though again previously suggesting, that Putin might also have forces in Eastern Ukraine.

Given the vast disparities in the campaign chests of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, about an enormous 30:1 ratio, Matt Tracy queried whether Trump genuinely wanted to win or whether he was just after free PR for himself. For he is certainly best at being an advertisement for himself in Norman Mailer’s old phrase than a promoter of specific policies and remedies to deal with America’s ills. He is noteworthy for his tiny staff, his personal desire to be everywhere on virtually any media – though he currently boycotts CNN.

He does have some diehard publicists and apologists (Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany) who appear on CNN. They seem to remain attached to him because they engage in the same type of push-back employed by their hero. Kayleigh tried to explain away Donald Trump’s suggestion that, if his daughter were faced with the sexual harassment by his friend Roger Aries of Fox News, he would advise his daughter, Ivanka, to find a new career. He would not, evidently, go into battle to insist his daughter retain her job and that Roger Aries find a new career.

How did Kayleigh explain not standing up for women’s rights? “I mean I think that that’s the same advice my father would probably give me. It’s the same advice I would give to my sister. Get away from the situation. If someone is harassing you, if someone’s being aggressive, move jobs, get away from the situation.” Instead of admitting to Donald Trump’s own past record of repeated misogyny, or even her own effort to undercut women’s efforts to insist on their rights, she reinforced the notion that any loving father would advise his daughter to flee and surrender her rights. Kayleigh aggressively insisted that Donald Trump was just saying what any father, any loving father – what her own father – would advise. But I assure Kayleigh that I have never given and would not give my daughters such advice. That is not because of any lack of love, but because I respect them as women and think the victimizer not the victim should search for another job.

But all these are mere clues as to how Donald Trump behaves and speaks as a self-promoter. What a better way to sell yourself to working stiffs – limit the monies paid out to policy wonks and consultants. He relies on tweets rather than campaign ads and has evidently allocated $0 for campaign ads in August, September and October. He has not been able to tap into Bernie Sanders legion of small contributors that overwhelmed Hillary Clinton’s fund raising efforts and, on the other hand, he is unable to draw much money from other Republican plutocrats given his record of name-calling, hateful and divisive rhetoric. How will he get out the vote without a ground team in place?

But these are not the only questions about whether he is a successful promoter. Given that he has dissed his way to the position of Republican candidate, insulting Mexicans as murderers and rapists while using America’s guest worker programs to staff his own enterprises, given that he threw suspicions on all Muslims and even disparaged the parents of a war hero, the targets of personal abuse are in the hundreds and the abuses hurled out are in the thousands, probably tens of thousands. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have not even been the prime recipients.

For example, where was Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Orlando mass shooting just after he fired his campaign manager and at a time when the Brexit results were to be announced? In his first foreign trip during his campaign, he was flying by helicopter to re-open his luxury refurbished golf course on the west coast, Trump Turnberry, with suites that rent for four figures per night. He was then airlifted to a promotional tour of his east coast of Scotland property near Aberdeen, where he has fought with and denigrated the Scottish “commoners” who objected to his expansionist plans.

Promoter is Donald Trump’s middle name. It should be “pushy promoter,” but, unlike Donald Trump, most of the rest of America is committed to civil discourse even as Donald Trump disparages self-discipline in talking and speaking as “politically correct speech,” a boundary he deliberately crosses. In his own Republican Convention speech he showed that he could occasionally discipline himself and engage in that same “politically correct speech.” I suspect that most of my readers will have little trouble with most of the above assertions, and may even grant that Donald Trump can be civil when he chooses, but describing Donald Trump as “tolerant” appears to be a world too far.

One reader took me to task for suggesting that Mussolini’s fascism had been tolerant while another reminded me that Antonio Gramsci was put in jail by the Italian fascists and died in a clinic a few days after his scheduled release. That reader endorsed the views of Robert Kagan (Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute) that Donald Trump is the epitome of intolerance. If you don’t jump on board his “victory train,” as Chris Christie did, then equivocators – those like Republican Majority Leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and Paul Ryan, Republican, first congressional district in Wisconsin and speaker in the House of Representatives – will be crushed. Donald Trump is totally intolerant on this score.

Though Ryan, after much hesitation, endorsed Donald Trump, presumably to foster party unity, the endorsement has been tepid – he barely referred to Trump in his convention speech. He has also been critical. Ryan defended Khizir Khan, the Muslim father of the American war hero, and rejected religious tests for entry into America.

Donald Trump responded with his usual full volley attack and announced that he would not endorse Paul Ryan as the Republican candidate in the first district in Wisconsin. If he is that hard on critical endorsers, what can one expect of his response to fence sitters, to war heroes and former presidential standard-bearer, John McCain, who openly rather than by implication criticized Trump. And what about Republicans like Representative Richard Hanna, Republican House of Representatives from New York, who announced he would vote for the Democratic Party candidate, Hillary Clinton and called Donald Trump “unfit to serve.” Whether you are an equivocator, fence-sitter, critic or open opponent in the Republican party, expect the wrath of Donald Trump to come down on your head. Hardly a sign of tolerance. And certainly a sign of at least being a cousin to fascism. So how can the adjective “tolerant” be applied to Donald Trump? In what sense can he be called a tolerant promoter? Trump clearly does not read, even J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, for that might lead him to vote against himself since a University of Pennsylvania study found you were likely to become more tolerant, more opposed to violence and resistant to authoritarianism, if you read even one of the Harry Potter series.

Well, relative to the community conservatives in Donald Trump’s party, he is quite tolerant – favouring accommodation for transgender individuals in their use of bathrooms (he openly opposed the discriminatory North Carolina legislation). Though he bashes Mexican and Islamic immigrants, I do not see that he does so on racist lines, but he is an anti-immigrant nativist and a law and order candidate. These platform approaches supposedly give him permission to demonize these groups and appeal to the downwardly mobile white middle class worker. Economic (however wrong, even silly) and physical self-protection dictate his stands, not racism.

With the help of Alex Zisman