Responses to Trump's Sexism: 'This Isn't Just About Trump'
President Trump's vile tweets speak volumes about what the GOP allows from its party.
President Donald Trump's vile sexism attacking MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski yesterday has raised questions about just how much the Republican party is willing to let Trump get away with — and about Trump's current state of mind.
The president cannot stop his sexist Twitter habit, describing television host Mika Brzezinski as "low I.Q. Crazy Mika" and "bleeding badly from a face-lift."
Trump described Brzezinski on Twitter as "low I.Q. Crazy Mika" and "bleeding badly from a face-lift." According to deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump had to respond to the "outrageous attacks" against him because he refused to be "bullied."
But on Friday, Brzezinski and her fiancé Joe Scarborough responded in a Washington Post column titled "Donald Trump is not well":
"President Trump launched personal attacks against us Thursday, but our concerns about his unmoored behavior go far beyond the personal. America's leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president. We have our doubts, but we are both certain that the man is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show, 'Morning Joe.'"
"More significant is Mr. Trump's continued mistreatment of women," the couple added. "It is disturbing that the president of the United States keeps up his unrelenting assault on women. From his menstruation musings about Megyn Kelly, to his fat-shaming treatment of a former Miss Universe, to his braggadocioclaims about grabbing women's genitalia, the 45th president is setting the poorest of standards for our children."
The couple also responded on air on Friday morning.
"He appears to have a fragile, impetuous childlike ego," Brzezinski said.
Lawmakers were quick to comment as well. Media outlets widely reported the response of Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) before anyone else.
"Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America," he tweeted.
Numerous Democratic lawmakers also took to the president's favorite platform to reject his latest sexist banter.
— Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) June 29, 2017
What Trump tweeted this morning is beneath the office he holds. He's a #cyberbully that is setting a bad example for America's children.
— Linda T. Sánchez (@RepLindaSanchez) June 29, 2017
.@realDonaldTrump's tweets about Mika Brzezinski are reproachful, sexist & show he doesn't understand what it means to have free, open press
— Senator Ben Cardin (@SenatorCardin) June 29, 2017
"Bleeding from the face," another attack on women, really? Enough is enough! Mr. President, you need to resign NOW!
— Sheila Jackson Lee (@JacksonLeeTX18) June 29, 2017
Donald J. Trump: Cyberbully-In-Chief. https://t.co/CuipUgZulk
— Rep. Lois Frankel (@RepLoisFrankel) June 29, 2017
Some also pointed out that once this blows over, the GOP will be quick to defend Trump again, and it will be business as usual.
".@realDonaldTrump's tweets this morning were sexist, vile, and unbecoming of an American leader. What else is new?" questioned Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California came down hard not only on Trump but the whole GOP in a series of tweets:
This isn't just about Trump. We already knew he has no respect for women. It's also about the GOP – which continues to defend & support him.
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) June 29, 2017
When leaders are bullies, it's an implicit license to others – sexual harassers, white supremacists, islamophobes – to spread their hate.
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) June 29, 2017
It's up to everyone to reject this behavior. By not speaking out, my GOP colleagues are complicit in the sexism & bigotry incited by Trump.
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) June 29, 2017
Nicolle Wallace, former communications director for the White House under former President George W. Bush and chief political analyst for MSNBC and NBC, said the only strategy for the White House is an apology.
"As a woman who was fortunate enough to work in the White House as a public servant, all of the women collecting paychecks from the U.S. taxpayers — Dina Powell, Kellyanne Conway, Elaine Chow, Betsy DeVos — you should all go on the record and condemn your boss' comments, and you should work behind the scenes to educate him about just how offensive they are.
"As someone who once proudly called myself a Republican, the party will be permanently associated with misogyny if leaders don't stand up and demand a retraction," Wallace added.
She also questioned "how any woman who's defending these comments how they plan to raise good men if the most powerful man in the world gets away with this?"
Besides Graham, some Republicans did respond to reject the tweets.
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska called the comments "not normal" and "beneath the dignity" of the president's office. And Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) said, "This is not okay. As a female in politics I am often criticized for my looks. We should be working to empower women."
"I don't believe the President's tweets this morning Make America Great Again," said Rep. Kevin Yonder, also a Republican from Kansas.
However, perhaps unsurprisingly, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) did not take a strong stance against the tweets, saying only at a press conference that it was not "an appropriate comment."
"What we're trying to do around here is improve the tone, the civility of the debate. And this obviously doesn't help do that," he said.
Ryan has been unable to condemn Trump's hate even before Trump took office, allowing the now-president's outlandish behavior to become the GOP's new normal. Last summer, Ryan said he does not have time to address all of then candidate Trump's racist social media messages. According to Ryan, "Candidates should know that" racist rhetoric has no place in a presidential campaign. He also speculated the blame should fall on Trump's campaign staff rather than the candidate: "My understanding is that this was done by staff, not by he, himself."
At the time Ryan was responding to an anti-Semitic tweet that appeared on Trump's Twitter account.
Meanwhile, Trump's sexism is nothing new. His recent comments echoed previous remarks he made about former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly when he said, "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever." His comment was widely interpreted as a reference to menstruation.
During his campaign he also made disparaging remarks about a fellow candidate's wife — Heidi Cruz, spouse of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). And also before Trump was elected, when audio of him saying it's okay to grab women by the genitals, he brushed it off as "locker room talk."
Women may be starting to listen, though, and the GOP will need the support of women on key issues. According to exit polls, women made up 53 percent of all voters, making them the majority. Women voted for then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, 54-41 percent.
However, Trump's approval rating from women has been on the decline. In April, 38 percent of women overall approved of Trump. In a recent CBS News poll, however, only 27 percent of women approved of Trump. Only 23 percent of women ages 18-29 approve of Trump. Similarly, a Quinnipiac University poll found that only 33 percent of women approve of Trump.
Update: Student Wearing MAGA Hat Standing Face-to-Face With Native American Veteran Releases Statement
"I was not intentionally making faces at the [protester]," said Nick Sandmann.
UPDATE: Monday, Jan. 21, 2019 at 7 a.m.
Nick Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School Junior who stands in front of Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, in a viral video that has sparked outrage, made a statement through a lawyer and spokesman on Sunday night.
Sandmann said the students decided to raise their voices to drown out the comments against them by four protesters who identify themselves as Black Hebrew Israelites. A video has been released of the incident.
"A student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group," Sandmann said in his statement. "The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school," he said.
Phillips walked up to the students and said he started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.
"There was that moment when I realized I've put myself between beast and prey,'' Phillips told the Detroit Free Press. "These young men were beastly and these old Black individuals was their prey, and I stood in between them and so they needed their pounds of flesh and they were looking at me for that.''
But said at one point, he claims the teenagers started saying "Go back to the reservation'' and broke into chants of "Build that wall.'' He also questioned why chaperones did not get involved.
"I was scared," Phillips told CNN. "I don't like the word 'hate.' I don't like even saying it, but it was hate unbridled. It was like a storm."
Sandmann claims he was "not intentionally making faces at the [protester]. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation."
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington in Kentucky is currently investigating the incident.
ORIGINAL STORY Published Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019
Students wearing "Make America Great Again" hats, who attend Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, K.Y., were in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the anti-abortion March for Life rally. In a video, it appears that Nathan Phillips, an elder with the Omaha tribe and a veteran, was being mocked by the students at the Lincoln Memorial.
The incident occurred as the Indigenous Peoples March was ending. Videos showing their behavior went viral on social media on Saturday.
One of the students, standing less than a foot away, appears to be trying to intimidate Phillips by staring him down with a mocking smirk on his face. Phillips was in the midst of drumming and singing a song of unity:
I've seen that look before — on the MAGA boy's face as he taunts a participant from the Indigenous Peoples March. Fueled by ideology and a desire to dehumanize, it frightens me and reminds me of other cruel youth groups from history.
(anyone know original source of video?) pic.twitter.com/Ka6t5HKmCz
— Melissa Chan (@melissakchan) January 19, 2019
Kaya Taitano, who shot the video, told CNN that MAGA hat-wearing-students and four Black teens, who'd been preaching about the Bible nearby, started yelling and calling each other names. That's why Phillips started drumming and singing a song to encourage unity trying to quell the argument.
President Trump, whom the students apparently idolize, posted a tweet last week to mock Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who plans to run for president in the 2020 election.
Trump made fun of the 1890 Wounded Knee massacre in response to a video Warren posted on Instagram.
If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash! pic.twitter.com/D5KWr8EPan
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
Phillips, a Vietnam Era veteran who said he served between 1972 and 1976, is in tears as he explains in a video how the incident on Friday made him feel:
"I heard them saying, 'Build that wall, build that wall.' This in indigenous land. You know, we're not supposed to have walls here. We never did …"
He continued, "Before anybody else came here, we never had walls. We never had a prison. We always took care of our elders. We took care of our children. We always provided for them. We taught them right from wrong."
He said he wishes the young men who taunted him would use "that energy to make this country really great."
Thank you to @VinceSchilling of @IndianCountry and many others who identified the proud Native man who is being harassed. He is Mr. Nathan Phillips. I'm reposting this video from “ka_ya11" on IG. This man's words pierce my heart. The grace. The wisdom. The hope. pic.twitter.com/BKOA40SVq5
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) January 19, 2019
Robert "Bob" Rowe is the principal of Covington Catholic High School (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
An investigation is now taking place, and the MAGA teens could be expelled. The Diocese of Covington and the high school issued the following statement on Saturday:
"We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C. We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church's teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.
"The matter is being investigated and we will take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.
"We know this incident also has tainted the entire witness of the March for Life and express our most sincere apologies to all those who attended the March and all those who support the pro-life movement."
More than 10,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org demanding changes at the high school.
Many are saying on social media that the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students mimics how whites tried to intimidate Blacks during the civil rights movement:
The MAGA-hat wearing Covington Catholic High School students mocking Elder Nathan Phillips at the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington are direct descendants of the white privilege that empowered white kids to mock Elizabeth Eckford at Little Rock Central High School in 1957. pic.twitter.com/tQroBf6aPb
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) January 19, 2019
King has been stripped of his committee assignments, but is it too little, too late?
U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was stripped of his committee assignments in Congress by House Republicans on Monday evening. It seems the backlash from King's recent remarks on white supremacy and white nationalism finally caused the Republican Party to take action. But why are Republicans now outraged when King has been sharing his racist beliefs for years?
Most Americans don't know that the overwhelming majority of U.S. immigrants are legal. A Pew report explains immigration.
As the partial shutdown of the federal government continues, it has now become the longest funding lapse in U.S. history. President Trump is demanding that Congress approve $5.7 billion in funds to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Meanwhile, on Friday, at least 800,000 federal workers did not receive paychecks.
King's remarks are "abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse," tweeted Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) wants to know why white nationalists and white supremacists are getting a bad rep.
"White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?" King asked in an interview with The New York Times published on Thursday. "Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?"
The far-right lawmaker is at the forefront of supporting the Trump administration's anti-immigration policies and the push to end birthright citizenship. As a matter of fact, King credits himself with getting Trump onboard.
"Donald Trump came to Iowa as a real non-ideological candidate," King said, in the Times interview. He said he told Trump, "I market-tested your immigration policy for 14 years, and that ought to be worth something."
King has previously, on the House floor, shown a model of a 12-foot border wall he had designed.
Thursday afternoon he released a statement on Twitter "clarify" his comments on white supremacy and white nationalism.
"I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology" represented by those terms. "I am simply a Nationalist," he wrote.
"I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives." Like the Founding Fathers, he wrote, "I am an advocate for Western Civilization's values."
But let's look at King's track record.
In the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, consumers and employees pushed back against companies donating to King's campaign in November. He is known for his association with white nationalists, even retweeting a Nazi sympathizer.
(But residents of Iowa still re-elected him for another term.)
King endorsed, Faith Goldy, an openly white supremacist candidate for mayor of Toronto. He often praises far-right politicians and groups in other countries.
In September, during a European trip financed by From the Depths — a Holocaust memorial group — King actually met with members of a far-right Austrian party with historical ties to Nazis for an interview on their anti-Semitic propaganda website. The meeting was just a day after ending a five-day trip to Jewish and Holocaust historical sites in Poland, including the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
"In an interview with a website associated with the party, King declared that 'Western civilization is on the decline,' spoke of the replacement of white Europeans by immigrants and criticized Hungarian American financier George Soros, who has backed liberal groups around the world," according to The Washington Post.
In December 2017, King shared a story on Twitter written by the Voice of Europe and quoted Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who said, "Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one."
King added to the tweet: "Diversity is not our strength."
Members of Congress are condemning his recent comments.
"Everything about white supremacy and white nationalism goes against who we are as a nation," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, (R-Calif.), said, in a statement. "Steve's language is reckless, wrong, and has no place in our society. The Declaration of Independence states that 'all men are created equal.' That is a fact. It is self-evident."
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney tweeted that King's remarks are "abhorrent and racist and should have no place in our national discourse."
"Dear Steve King (@SteveKingIA): FYI this is one reason you get bad search results when people type your name in Google," Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), tweeted.
"Here's the real crisis at the border: children are dying," writes DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti.
After watching the president conclusively prove he can read off a teleprompter, I struggled to stay awake as the 146-year-old couple (Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi) robotically read through an uninspired response.
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In a "60 Minutes" interview, the new Democratic congresswoman said the president's words are "historic dog whistles of white supremacy."