The Three Ironies of Trump
Trump has been talking about Bill Clinton’s infidelities and his alleged predation of women since the start of his campaign.
After his poor showing in the first debate, he brought it up again. He promised to respond to Clinton’s use of a former Miss Universe with a no-holds-barred expose on Bill Clinton’s history.
Then the famous “lewd” tape broke which caused him to double-down on his attack on Hillary in an effort to deflect attention away from his outrageous statements.
Prior to the debate, Trump had a Facebook live event featuring three women who claimed they had been assaulted, or in one case raped, by Bill Clinton. There was also a fourth woman who blamed Hillary for defending the man who raped her when she was 12.
Trump made a big deal of the treatment that these women had received from the Clinton’s in particular and the media in general.
At the debate, Trump said that his claims of sexual assault were just talk. He said he never assaulted anyone. That wasn’t the best answer because it simply invited women to report their past experiences with Trump. This past week we’ve seen the count of women reporting Trump assaults rise to 10. The famous Hollywood feminist attorney, Gloria Allred, is now involved. She issued a public offer to take the cases of any other women who were victims of Trump’s assaults. We can probably expect the list of assault claims to grow daily pretty much up through the election.
Trump has said he was going to publicize information which would support his claims of innocence. But the sheer number of women coming forward is going to make it difficult for his “fact checking” to keep up. The first irony is that at least in this case, Trump is suffering from the same fact-check fatigue that has been a basic part of his strategy. The sheer volume of his lies has made it difficult for the fact-checkers and the public to keep up. Now he is faced with exactly the same challenge.
The Real Bill Cosby
Trump’s campaign manager predicted they were going to turn Bill Clinton into Bill Cosby. They were successful in attracting the attention of the attorney who helped make the case against Bill Cosby. The second irony is that Gloria Allred plans to make her case against Donald Trump.
The Real Donald Trump
The final irony is Trump’s response his accusers.
He attacked them with fury and intensity.
These vicious claims about me of inappropriate conduct with women are totally and absolutely false. … They’re pure fiction, and they’re outright lies. These events never, ever happened and the people said them meekly, fully understand. You take a look at these people, you study these people, and you’ll understand also. The claims are preposterous, ludicrous and defy truth, common sense and logic. We already have substantial evidence to dispute these lies, and it will be made public in an appropriate way and at an appropriate time very soon. …
Last night we hear that after 12 years — this took place 12 years ago, this story — a new claim that I made inappropriate advances during the interview to this writer [Stoynoff, reporting for People magazine] and I asked a very simple question: Why wasn’t it part of the story that appeared 12 years ago? … These people are horrible people. They’re horrible, horrible liars. And interestingly, it happens to appear 26 days before our very important election, isn’t that amazing?
On the other hand, here’s how Trump described his rescue of the women who accused Bill Clinton.
Bill Clinton’s accusers “have been trying to get their feelings out for so long, and the media wouldn’t take it. One thing with me, the media takes it. Whatever. So they were able to get what they wanted to get out. To quote Juanita Broaddrick, ‘Hillary Clinton threatened me after Bill Clinton raped me.’ She’s been struggling to get the media to pay attention to her for many, many years. So last night, I decided we would expose the hypocrisy of the Clintons and the media and our politicians to the entire world.”
And from the Wash Post.
For most of this past week, Trump advocated for accusers of Bill Clinton. He said it was “very beautiful and very sad” to hear their stories. He blamed Hillary Clinton for attacking the women and discrediting them — even though her criticism was directed toward the “vast right-wing conspiracy” by Republicans, whom she said started rumors about Lewinsky, rather than against Lewinsky herself. He made no reference to how the allegations were made in the 1990s, or that some of the alleged attacks date as far back as four decades — and that the women waited years to make their claims.
This past week, Trump faced exactly the same situation that Bill and Hillary faced in 1998. Women from years ago started making embarrassing claims about past behavior and directly contradicting his public statement that he had not engaged in the behavior he described on tape.
How did Trump react?
Similar to Hillary Clinton, he blamed a vast left wing conspiracy. That conspiracy included the “Clinton machine”, the New York Times, and the Mexican telecommunications billionaire Carlos Slim who happens to have an investment in the New York Times. He said “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special-interest friends and her donors.”
Unlike Clinton, he attacked the media for printing these claims. This is the same media that he had previously attacked for NOT giving the Clinton accusers sufficient ink.
Unlike Clinton, he personally and publicly attacked the honesty of all of his accusers calling them “horrible, horrible liars”.
Unlike Clinton, he threatened legal action.
Unlike Clinton, he suggested that some of these women were lying because they weren’t sufficiently attractive for him to consider assaulting them.
Unlike Clinton, he questioned why these women had not come forward sooner.
The answer to the last question is obvious. Why would any woman want to subject herself to this sort of public abuse after already being the victim of such private assault? The reason, over and over again, that these women have shared for overcoming their fear is that Trump’s denial on national TV was the last straw.
It should also be the last straw for any thoughtful person. Whether these women are telling the truth or not does not justify the treatment that they received. This behavior is NOT NORMAL. It is not acceptable. This is not the sort of behavior that gets rewarded with a trip to the White House. This is the sort of behavior that must be repudiated in a dramatic and public way. Trump’s loss must be a bold and bright warning to every person who even considers sexual assault.
Sexual assault is not acceptable under any circumstances. Not at home. Not at work. Not at the bar. Not on an airplane. Nowhere. Never.
Shaming the victim is also not acceptable. We have an innocent until proven guilty legal system, but proof in the court of public opinion should not fall on the victim.
This now becomes another test for those who contemplate a public career. They have to make sure there aren’t women in their past. If there are, they must first make it right before asking for anyone else’s vote.
If that’s what comes of this election. If that is the lasting legacy of electing the first woman president. If this is the reward the nation receives in return for enduring Trump’s candidacy, then maybe it was worth it.