It should come as no surprise, to even the most casual observer of the 2016 US Presidential election cycle, that leading Republican candidate Donald Trump is making headlines for saying something sexist again.
It all started when Donald Trump responded to a campaign attack ad that used a nice nude photo of Trump’s wife, Melania. The ad was sponsored by a conservative anti-Trump SuperPAC. The picture was taken from a GQ Magazine photo shoot in 2000 and was released with the caption, “Meet Melania Trump Your Next First Lady. Or, You Could Support Ted Cruz on Tuesday.” See this attractive photo title above. Was is fair to including this into the political battle? For sure not in a super conservative Republican America.
For a long time, it was the standard in American political battles to leave the wives and children out. In 2016 unfortunately this is no longer the case.
After the ad appeared, Trump took to twitter to publicly threaten Ted Cruz. He called out Cruz on Wednesday night with a warning that said, “Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!”
Cruz replied, “Donald, if you try to attack Heidi, you’re more of a coward than I thought.”
And, if you thought that was the end of the comically absurd attempt to win votes by comparing the attractiveness of their wives—you would be wrong.
Thursday morning saw Trump escalate the conflict with a tweet of side-by-side images of Melania Trump and Heidi Cruz along with the statement, “No need to ‘spill the beans’. The images are worth a thousand words.”
This kick-back was totally unfair, as there are funny or stupid pictures taken of all of us. To use such an unflattering picture of a good looking and very smart Heidi, and compare it with a photoshopped picture of his own model wife Melania was XXL-unfair, but typical Donald Trump style.
By the way: both wives make a better impression in this dirty campaign than their husbands, who trend to behave like childish school-boys attacking each other in front of the schoolhouse. This race seems like one made for reality television, not the race for the highest office in the United States. Oh my God, America!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2016
The War of the Wives?
What makes this notably laughable, and entirely cringe-worthy, is the way that Trump responded to the PAC ad that attempted to slut shame his wife. Instead of, literally, any number of other responses, Trump chose to combat the misogyny directed at his wife by attacking Senator Cruz’s wife. The not-so-subtle implication being that Heidi Cruz is unfit to be First Lady because she is less attractive than Melania. It also plays into the equally strange idea that Melania would be a more-qualified first lady because of her looks. Neither of these two statements make any sense because they have absolutely nothing to do with either woman’s ability to act as a figurehead and representative of both the United States and the White House.
The situation is made even more amusing by the fact that, by all accounts, Heidi Cruz is an attractive woman. The two images simply present an unattractive face for Heidi and juxtapose it with one of Melania doing her level-best to live up to her career title as a super model. Take a picture of any two, reasonably attractive people with one flattering photo and one that is no-so flattering and you could literally repeat this game ad infinitum.
Sexism and Donald Trump
Trump has spared no opportunity to show his complete disregard for women as anything more than pretty objects to be admired but not heard.
The fact that Trump sees women as objects is not that surprising given the candidate’s previous remarks about women. The fact that he values these women based entirely on their physical appearance is also unsurprising. He has been quoted as saying that “as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful hot piece of ass” it doesn’t matter what the media says about you.
Trump has long been noted for his sexist tendencies. He has made disturbing comments about his daughter’s “hot body” and implying that he’d date her if they weren’t related. He’s also gleefully made rude remarks about the physical appearance of women that he doesn’t find attractive, and as even gone so far as to say that Hillary Clinton “couldn’t keep her husband satisfied”, in reference to Bill Clinton’s infamous White House affair. At this point in the campaign season, these types of remarks are simply par for the course with Mr. Trump.
A Candidate We Can Believe in?
If there is one thing that the majority of the American electorate wants right now it is honesty. At a time, where American jobs have been gutted by foreign trade deals, activist groups like #BlackLivesMatter have forcefully dragged police brutality against unarmed citizens into the national spotlight, and the threat of terrorism—both foreign and domestic—looms over us, the American people are clamoring for a bit of stability, and for a bit of honesty and consistency. Donald Trump is nothing if not consistent.
And many on the conservative right feel like they’ve found their fateful candidate in one Donald J. Trump. Whether or not American voters are willing to take a healthy dose of sexism and misogyny with their next presidential nominee remains to be seen.