New Evidence Donald Trump Really, Really Loves Gender Roles (As If You Needed More)

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, recently graced with the blessing of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s endorsement, has always had a lot to say about women. Most of Trump’s comments regarding women emphasize traditional sexist beauty standards, but as his alarm with Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the presidency and the idea of a woman in a position of power taking pride in her gender reveal, the extent of his sexism doesn’t stop at objectifying women — Trump’s sexism reaches as far as pigeon-holing women into 1950s gender roles. Further evidence of this: a seriously cringe-worthy 1994 interview with Trump that makes all the other many, many examples of his sexism pale in comparison.

Asked by ABC News’ Nancy Collins of his feelings about his then-wife, actress Marla Maples, working outside the house, Trump expressed mixed feelings: “I have days where I think it’s great. And then I have days where, if I come home — and I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist — but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof.” Ah, yes, because adding the disclaimer that you don’t want to sound “too much like a chauvinist” can neatly erase the chauvinism from any chauvinistic statement, can’t it?

Clearly, to Trump, the “again” in his whole “Make America Great Again” mantra is referring to the 1950s, when women were confined to the domestic sphere and burly, masculine male breadwinners could unfailingly come home to a hot dinner awaiting them. But in all seriousness, Donald Trump, are you shitting me? Your backwards thinking and inflated sense of male entitlement will never fail to astound me.

From there, the interview really only gets worse as Trump discusses the strain on his marriage caused by his first wife, Ivana, working for him at his Atlantic City casino. “I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing,” Trump said. “If you’re in business for yourself, I really think it’s a bad idea to put your wife working for you.”

This statement seems fair enough — it’s common knowledge that doing business with a romantic partner or even just a friend isn’t always the best decision. But it’s what Trump took particular issue with in his wife’s working for him that reflects his disdain for women who defy traditional gender roles. He said:

“I’d say, ‘I don’t want my wife shouting at somebody like that, I really don’t want that.’ And a softness disappeared. There was a great softness to Ivana, and she still has that softness. But during this period of time, she became an executive, not a wife.”

Donald Trump and Marla Maples
CREDIT: Art Zelin/Getty Images

Translation: Ivana being in a position of power, having authority, and not conforming to traditional standards regarding femininity and “softness” was literally disturbing enough to Trump to end their marriage. There’s also the problematic nature of his perceptions of Ivana being authoritative and assertive as her “shouting.” (Meanwhile, I don’t doubt he would disdain a man who didn’t “shout” as a weak, pathetic “lightweight,” or something like that, based on his tweets attacking Jeb Bush back in the day).

The whole “shouting”/”bossy” narrative assigned to women who take charge is pretty commonplace in society, even beyond the scope of walking misogynist Donald Trump. But it’s a narrative Trump is still using more than 20 years later, in his present-day portrayal of Clinton, his likely general election opponent.

And, seriously? “I don’t want my wife shouting”? Because you, as a man, have sweeping authority over your wife’s behavior? Because, for whatever reason, her being your wife makes her inherently obligated to conform to your misogynistic preferences?

Trump tops himself yet again in that single, loaded interview, by comparing his hand in making Ivana and Marla “stars” to his “creating [buildings].” Women, buildings, all the same, right?

“Unfortunately, after they’re a star, the fun is over for me. It’s like a creation process. It’s almost like creating a building; it’s pretty sad,” Trump said. One thing from that interview I actually agree with: It’s pretty sad, indeed.

Granted, the interview took place in 1994, more than 20 years ago, and there’s arguably a statute of limitations when it comes to loathing people for idiotic things they said, forever ago. So, sure, I’d be more than willing to overlook the disgusting interview if only Trump’s comments in 2016 didn’t make it so hard to believe he’s had a change of heart with regards to women.