By Roger Bowen
Billy Bush got fired and Donald Trump got elected president.
Just a year ago this month the infamous 1995 “Access Hollywood” tape recording of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaking with the then host of the NBC program was released. In it, Trump was heard saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” He specifically boasted of grabbing women’s genitals. Billy Bush laughed and laughed, encouraging the Donald to tell other stories, which included one about Trump’s failure to seduce a married woman whom he had targeted.
Release of the tape last year prompted 11 women to accuse Trump of sexual assault, with Trump firing back that he would sue all 11 women and would also provide the public with evidence that they were lying. He also characterized several of them as “too ugly” to have attracted his attention. We all continue to wait for Trump’s evidence and threatened lawsuits. Additionally, 20 former “Apprentice” female employees claimed Trump, the star of this reality TV program, behaved toward them in “lewd and inappropriate” ways.
Comedian Bill Cosby and former FOX executive Roger Ailes and his former henchman Bill O’Reilly and, more recently, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein have been taken apart by the activist media for behavior remarkably similar to Trump’s. The difference, of course, is that Teflon Donald has escaped public prosecution because he is, alas, the President; if only Bill Clinton had had it so easy.
You have to wonder about the rule of law, treating everyone equally for equally criminal behavior. I doubt, however, that Trump wonders about this. Trump never admits mistakes, errors in judgment or rookie assumptions. Instead, he goes on the attack, warning every detractor that a price will be paid for challenging his actions and his ideas. Trump is, by nature and experience, an aggressor, a trait that may have served him well in the world of real estate but is of dubious value in the world of politics, let alone in government.
Pugnacious, quarrelsome and arrogant, Donald Trump’s aggressive treatment of women has been especially ugly, and crude. During the GOP presidential primary he said of challenger Carly Fiorina “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?” Against primary challenger Ted Cruz, Trump retweeted a photo of his supermodel wife (number three), Melania, standing alongside Cruz’s wife, Heidi. When then FOX News commentator Megan Kelley challenged a Trump lie, Trump replied, “You could see blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” Trump referred to “Morning Joe” co-anchor Mika Brezynski as “Low IQ Crazy Mika.” And, never to be overlooked, he said his daughter Ivanka “has got the best body” and “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
To argue, as some have, that Trump is trying to normalize misogyny is to give The Donald too much credit for having a plan. Trump’s entire professional life — as property huckster, as reality TV host and as sponsor of Miss Universe pageants — has been devoted to demeaning women. The fact that the media do not dwell on this sorry record of disordered behavior probably makes Weinstein and O’Reilly and Cosby wonder why it’s only Republican presidents who always get a pass.
Roger Bowen is a selectman in Gouldsboro.