Calling Bill Clinton Sexist Is Fair, But It Doesn’t Change Donald Trump’s Own Sexism
On Monday, Donald Trump tweeted into the internet ether that if Hillary Clinton was going to call him sexist, we all need to talk about Bill Clinton, too:
If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband, with his terrible record of women abuse, while playing the women’s card on me, she’s wrong!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 28, 2015
On the Today Show yesterday, Trump said his comments about Bill Clinton are “fair game.” CNN’s Dean Obeidallah has argued that Donald Trump “doesn’t know what sexism means,” but Obeidallah is incorrect – just because Trump has himself said and done horrible, sexist things, it doesn’t mean he’s wrong about Bill Clinton. He called Clinton’s behavior while in office “woman abuse,” which isn’t far from reality. Clinton never considered the role the influence of his authority as the President of the United States played on the women he had affairs with. How do you say no to the President, and when you do, how do you report his behavior and keep your career afloat?
It would be refreshing to see the Clintons address this – that the problem isn’t just that Bill Clinton cheated on his wife, but that he abused his authority in the process. I’m not holding out hope for the Clintons to be forthright and frank about their past, though.
But – but, but, but – even if saying that Bill Clinton has behaved in a deplorable and sexist way in the past is fair, even if it seems like if Hillary Clinton is championing herself as an ideal candidate for women, and that she and her husband should maybe speak out publicly about his unideal attitudes toward women, it doesn’t have anything to do with Donald Trump and his own unideal behavior toward women.
Behavior like, for example, saying that Clinton “got schlonged” in the 2008 presidential debates. Saying that Clinton’s extended bathroom break was “disgusting.” Saying that the military should’ve expected sexual assault to happen if women were going to work around men. Saying that no one would vote for Carly Fiorina’s face. Criticizing Ariana Huffington for being “extremely unattractive” – twice – and criticizing Heidi Klum’s appearance, too, saying she’s “sadly […] no longer a 10.” Making a veiled claim that Megyn Kelly must have been on the rag because she wasn’t being fluffy and coddling to him at the first Republican debate. Retweeting all sorts of disgusting comments from his followers, but maybe worst of all one about how Hillary “couldn’t satisfy her husband” and therefore couldn’t “satisfy America.” Then there’s the stuff about Rosie O’Donnell, and the stuff about how he’d want to date his own daughter.
All of this is acceptable behavior to Trump. All of this is a fine and totally reasonable way to speak to and treat people. And he wants to be the leader of our country. No matter what red herrings Trump tries to raise, we have to remember that.