But his commentary on their looks was in keeping with a long-running tendency by Mr. Trump. He has attacked women who criticize him as having faces “like a dog.” He has denied accusations of unwanted sexual advances toward women by telling people to “look at her.”
He has also denigrated the physical appearance of female political rivals. “Look at that face!” he said of Carly Fiorina, one of his Republican primary opponents, to a Rolling Stone reporter aboard his private plane in 2015.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump retweeted a post from someone who had made a side-by-side comparison of Melania Trump, who is a former model, and Heidi Cruz, the wife of his main opponent at the time, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” said the tweet that Mr. Trump elevated.
While groundbreaking in the literal sense, there is nothing feminist about a woman who oversaw a site where detainees were tortured, someone who refuses to say whether she believes torture is immoral. In the same way, there is nothing “empowering” about Ms. Scott, a media executive who reportedly enforced a “miniskirt rule” for female on-air talent, and who was cited in two lawsuits for contributing to a toxic work environment and retaliating against a sexual harassment victim.
Feminism isn’t about blind support for any woman who rises to power.
The real political duplicity here is Republicans’ continued efforts to co-opt feminist language while actively curtailing women’s rights.
.. Conservatives appropriating feminist rhetoric despite their abysmal record on women’s rights
.. In our eagerness to make feminism more friendly to the mainstream, we didn’t fully consider what it would mean if any woman could claim the label.
.. Now that feminism is more culturally and politically powerful than it has been in decades, however, conservatives are eager to capitalize on its cachet. Or wield it as a cudgel.
.. The conservative commentator Tomi Lahren, for example, has said that any woman who doesn’t support Ivanka Trump’s business because of her father’s policies isn’t “really a feminist.”
.. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, blasted any Democrat “who claims to support women’s empowerment” but opposed Ms. Haspel’s nomination as “a total hypocrite.”
.. In 2015, conservative female leaders leveled the same criticism at women’s rights advocates for not rallying around Carly Fiorina’s presidential bid.
.. It’s a hollow argument from the Republican Party, which does next to nothing to prioritize women’s representation. The truth is that while feminism need not be complicated .. it is not for everyone.
.. Women like Gina Haspel and Suzanne Scott have certainly benefited from the movement; without feminism, they very likely wouldn’t have the jobs they have now. But taking advantage of feminist wins does not make someone a feminist.
.. You cannot be a feminist and support an immigration policy of taking children away from undocumented immigrant mothers.
You cannot be a feminist and go along with the White House’s newly announced domestic gag rule, a mandate that would withhold funding from any health care center that helps patients find abortion services.
.. Amassing professional power at the expense of other women isn’t feminism — it’s self-interest.
.. Now we have a different task: protecting the movement against conservative appropriation. We’ve come too far to allow the right to water down a well-defined movement for its own cynical gains. Because if feminism means applauding “anything a woman does” — even hurting other women — then it means nothing.
Correct. Trump is really good at “driving a media agenda.” He takes bold, beyond-the-Overton-window positions; he gets combative in interviews, he insults critics, he insists solutions are simple and that only a conspiracy of the malevolent and foolish stands in the way of enacting them.
.. I used to joke that Bill Clinton was the only guy who could distract attention from a fundraising scandal by getting into a sex scandal.
.. Trump figured out how to overload the system, generating so many headline-grabbing surprises, controversies and personnel changes that few if any really had the time to leave a lasting impression.
.. just during a couple months in the campaign, we saw Trump contending that a federal judge couldn’t rule fairly because “he’s a Mexican;” mock Carly Fiorina’s face; get into a war of words with a slain soldier’s father. Any one of those would have defined and politically destroyed a lesser-known figure.
.. Think about how Obama and the Democrats spent almost all of 2009 and a chunk of 2010 focused on what became Obamacare. But the amount of consistent focus — and presidential persuasion — needed to pass a legislative agenda is completely different from the amount needed to dominate a news cycle.
Every time it seems the president has zeroed in on an issue, and appears determined to see it through — guns and immigration are just the two latest examples — he moves on to something else. And Congress, which isn’t designed to respond swiftly to national events and the wishes of the White House even in the least distracted of circumstances, simply can’t keep up.
The constant whiplash of priorities is getting on lawmakers’ nerves.
“It’s unbelievable to me,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). “The attention span just seems to be. . . it’s a real problem.”
They were not spoken from the point of view of a politician. They were spoken from the point of view of a parent, which is the point of view Michelle Obama frequently uses. The politician asks: What can I offer to win votes? The parent asks: What world are my children going out into when they leave the house?
.. Moral capital is the set of shared habits, norms, institutions and values that make common life possible. Left to our own, we human beings have an impressive capacity for selfishness.
.. This year Trump is dismantling those restraints one by one. By savagely attacking Carly Fiorina’s looks and Ted Cruz’s wife he dismantled the codes of etiquette that prevent politics from becoming an unmodulated screaming match. By lying more or less all the time, he dismantles the fealty to truth without which conversation is impossible. By refusing to automatically respect the election results he corrodes confidence in our common institutions and risks turning public life into a never-ending dogfight.
.. As the James O’Keefe videos remind us, wherever Hillary Clinton has gone in her career, a cloud of unsavory people and unsavory behavior has traveled alongside.
.. We are now in a country in which major presidential candidates can gibe about the menstrual cycles of their interviewers and the penis size of their opponents. We are now in a society in which the childish desires of a reality-TV narcissist can insult the inheritance that Washington and Hamilton risked their lives to bequeath. We are now in a society in which serial insults to basic decency aren’t automatically disqualifying.
.. Clearly, we have a giant task of moral repair ahead of us. That starts with a renunciation of the Trump style.
.. If somebody is destroying the basic social and moral fabric through brutalistic rhetoric and vicious misogynistic behavior, it doesn’t really matter that he agrees with you on taxes and the Supreme Court; he has to be renounced or else he will drag the whole society to a level of degradation that will make all decent politics impossible.
.. In other words, it should be possible to be conservative on macroeconomics, liberal on immigration policy, traditionalist on moral and civic matters, Swedish on welfare state policies, and Reaganesque on America’s role in the world.