Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump leaves the stage with his wife Melania Trump and his daughter, Ivanka Trump. after the first Republican presidential debate, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. 
Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP

Trump needs to clear a higher bar when it comes to women

The New York Times published a rather brutal piece over the weekend on Donald Trump’s problematic history with women. It painted a painful picture:
The New York Times interviewed dozens of women who had worked with or for Mr. Trump over the past four decades, in the worlds of real estate, modeling and pageants; women who had dated him or interacted with him socially; and women and men who had closely observed his conduct since his adolescence. In all, more than 50 interviews were conducted over the course of six weeks.
 
Their accounts – many relayed here in their own words – reveal unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct, according to the interviews, as well as court records and written recollections. The interactions occurred in his offices at Trump Tower, at his homes, at construction sites and backstage at beauty pageants. They appeared to be fleeting, unimportant moments to him, but they left lasting impressions on the women who experienced them.
The article, according to a spokesperson for the Times, is the most read political story the newspaper has published in 2016.
 
In response to the piece, we’ve seen some curious reactions from women close to the Republican candidate. His spokesperson, Katrina Pierson, said yesterday, for example, “Women know Donald Trump is a very successful businessperson. He’s raised a wonderful family. His own wife endorsed him for president.”
 
In a separate interview, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, said, “I’m not in every interaction my father has, but he’s not a groper.”
 
And Melania Trump, the candidate’s third wife, added in a different interview, “We know the truth. He’s not Hitler.”
 
So, let’s review. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has an alarming history with women, but (a) he’s not a genocidal groper; and (b) he’s capable of picking up a campaign endorsement from his own wife.
 
Maybe, when looking for a national leader, Americans may look for a presidential candidate who can clear a higher bar, but this is nevertheless where things stand in the 2016 race.
 
As for the embarrassment this may cause Trump’s party, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus argued over the weekend, in reference to a question about the Times article, “I’ve got to tell you, I think that all these stories that come out – and they come out every couple weeks – people just don’t care.”
 
Well, Republican primary voters didn’t seem to care, but the national electorate may bring a very different perspective to the table.
 
Postscript: One of the notable parts of the Times article highlighted an anecdote in which Trump asked Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee, Miss Universe at the time, for her opinion about his daughter’s body.
 
” ‘Don’t you think my daughter’s hot? She’s hot, right?’ ” Lee recalled him saying. ‘I was like, ‘Really?’ That’s just weird. She was 16. That’s creepy.”
 
Olivia Nuzzi explained why Trump may have said something like this: “Trump says creepy things about Ivanka being hot because, to him, hot is the most valuable thing a woman can be. It’s not about wanting to sleep with his daughter. It’s about his daughter’s worth and, by extension, his own worth.”
 
 

Donald Trump

Trump needs to clear a higher bar when it comes to women