Tue | Jul 17, 2018

Michael Abrahams | Donald Trump, a role model for our boys... NOT!

Published:Monday | October 17, 2016 | 12:05 AMMichael Abrahams
Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s vile misogynistic comments and actions are well documented.

On the television show “Entertainment Tonight” in 2006, Trump called television personality Rosie O'Donnell “disgusting”, referred to her as a “slob” and described her face as being “fat” and “ugly”.

When New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote about rumours of his bankruptcy, he sent her a copy of her article, with her picture circled, and "The face of a dog!" written across it, and after journalist Megyn Kelly hosted the first Republican debate of the US presidential campaign and questioned Trump over accusations of sexism, he called her a “bimbo” in a tweet.

Referring to Carly Fiorina, his former Republican candidate rival, Trump said,"Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?”

He also said that Huffington Post editor and co-founder Arianna Huffington is “unattractive both inside and out”, adding, “I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man - he made a good decision”.

Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado claimed that when she gained weight, Trump called her “Miss Piggy”, and that his treatment of her precipitated an eating disorder. Trump fired back in an early morning Twitter rant, calling her “disgusting” and telling his followers to check out her “sex tape”, which no one has been able to confirm exists.

Interestingly, Trump has made Bill Clinton’s indiscretions an issue in his campaign, but in 1998, he mocked Clinton’s accusers, lamenting that the former president was a victim himself, while referring to the women as “terrible”, a “really unattractive group” and an “unattractive cast of characters”, adding that had Monica Lewinsky and Paula Jones been supermodels, they would be “more pleasant to watch".

As for Hillary Clinton, he has accused her of enabling her husband’s philandering, adding, in a tweet, “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”

He could not resist taking a jab at her physical appearance as well, commenting that during the second presidential debate when she walked in front of him he “wasn’t impressed”.

Even Nancy Reagan could not escape his scrutiny as, after her death, while remembering her as "an amazing woman" threw in the comment "she was never very beautiful".

Children are also targets of Trump’s objectification. He told radio jock Howard Stern that when he first saw Paris Hilton, aged 12 years at the time, he remarked “Who the hell is that?”, and footage from CBS from 1992 shows him talking about a 10-year-old girl’s physical appearance, joking “I’ll be dating her in 10 years.”

According to a Chicago Tribune wire from December of that same year, he also told a 14-year-old, outside the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, “Wow! Just think - in a couple of years I’ll be dating you.”

Even Trump’s own daughters are not immune. On ABC’s 'The View' in 2006 Trump said that “if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps, I would be dating her” and he told Rolling Stone in 2015, "Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father ...".

Regarding the appearance of his younger daughter, Tiffany, when she was a year old, he remarked to Robin Leach, host of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”, “Well, I think that she's got a lot of Marla (her mother). She's a really beautiful baby, and she's got Marla's legs. We don't know whether she's got this part yet (gesturing toward his chest), but time will tell.”

Trump has also made disparaging remarks about female bodily functions and disabilities. He suggested that Megyn Kelly’s questioning at the Republican debate was a result of her menstruating, saying, "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.”

On another occasion, while Trump was testifying in court, a female lawyer, Elizabeth Beck, asked for permission to take a break to breastfeed her three-month-old daughter. Trump and his team objected, and when she pulled out her breast pump to prove it, he walked out of the room, telling her she was "disgusting", the same word he used to describe Hillary Clinton’s bathroom break during a Democratic presidential debate.

Recently, when Clinton fell ill with pneumonia, he openly mocked her, doing an impression of her stumbling and doubling over. Witnesses on the set of 'Celebrity Apprentice' also claim that he referred to deaf actress Marlee Matlin as “retarded” while she appeared on the show.

The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was the leaked tape on which he was heard bragging, “And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Whatever you want. Grab them by the p$%@&. You can do anything.”

Trump dismissed his comments as “locker room talk”, and in two half-hearted apologies not only displayed no remorse or contrition, but pivoted to Bill Clinton’s checkered history with women. Two days after the recording was made public, during the second presidential debate, moderator Anderson Cooper had to ask a dodging Trump three times if he had ever touched women inappropriately before he replied, “No, I have not” and quickly went on to say how he would make the “country safe again” and “have borders”.

His denial was apparently too much for some women to bear, and several have since reported his alleged inappropriate behaviour towards them, from uninvited kissing on the mouth, to grabbing breasts and buttocks and, of course, genitalia. Trump’s response was to not only deny the accusations, but to objectify and insult the women as well, with remarks such as “Take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. And you tell me what you think. I don’t think so,” and “Believe me, she would not be my first choice.”

It is not surprising that Trump has also been accused of rape and attempted rape. His first wife, Ivana, claimed in a 1989 deposition that he had physically assaulted her, pulled out her hair and forcibly penetrated her without her consent. Another woman, Jill Harth, alleged in a federal lawsuit in 1997 that Trump violated her “physical and mental integrity” when he touched her intimately without consent, leaving her “emotionally devastated and distraught” and that he committed multiple acts of “attempted rape”. She withdrew the case when another suit brought against Trump by her husband, who had gone into business with him, was settled. But a woman’s lawsuit alleging that Trump raped her when she was 13 is scheduled for a hearing on December 16, after the election.

We need to reject Trump’s dismissal of his recently released comments as “locker room talk”. Words, as we see with Trump, are often accompanied by attitudes and actions. Misogyny is not benign. As Michelle Obama said, “it hurts”. And it not only hurts women and girls, but adversely affects families and retards the progress of societies. These episodes of Trump’s disgusting behaviour should be used as prime examples to teach our boys how not to behave.

- Michael Abrahams is an obstetrician and gynaecologist, comedian and poet. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and michabe_1999@hotmail.com, or tweet @mikeyabrahams.