franken trump tweet

Donald Trump’s Crude, Blatant Concern Trolling Over Al Franken Assault Backfires

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It’s been more than a week since the first allegations against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore broke. Since then, more women have come forward to describe the sexual advances and assault Moore committed against them, many while they were minors. It’s come out that he was banned from both a YMCA and the Alabama mall where he, then in his 30s, would try to pick up teenage girls.

While a number of Republicans have condemned Moore’s actions, Donald Trump is not among them. Maybe he’s still embarrassed by supporting Moore’s opponent in the primary. Maybe he doesn’t want to do anything to risk losing that seat to a Democrat. Maybe he simply doesn’t care. Whatever the reason (all three, probably), Trump hasn’t said a word about Moore and whether he thinks he should step down, something Moore refuses to do.

But about 12 hours after Leeann Tweeden published her account of being assaulted by Al Franken, we got this:

I said this when talking about Franken yesterday, but I will scream it from the internet rooftops until it sinks in: WOMEN ARE NOT YOUR GODDAMN PROPS. Donald Trump doesn’t care about Leeann Tweeden. He doesn’t care about sexual harassment or “respect for women.” To him, these things are simply ammunition to take down his political opponents. He can’t even keep from sexually objectifying her in his fake condemnation of sexual assault. I assume that first tweet is supposed to be something of a mean joke, but it’s at Tweeden’s expense more than Franken’s. Trump can’t even concern troll convincingly.

By highlighting Franken’s hypocrisy, Trump is putting him in the same category as Moore so that he can pretend he cares about the issue without having to criticize a Republican or address the many accusations that have been made against himself. It’s some standard “whataboutism,” a maddeningly effective tactic John Oliver recently delved into. If you missed his segment on it, it’s definitely worth a watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60vpBrKcr0U

Trump and his supporters have been calling out a double standard of not just Franken’s behavior, but a presumed silence coming from other Democrats and their supporters on the left. The idea is to prove that Dems are just as bad as Republicans, and therefore we can’t criticize anyone. But as Oliver says in that clip there, “Even if you believe that Democrats are guilty of a double standard, the solution is not to have no standard whatsoever.”

Except in this case, Democrats are addressing the issue at hand. Republicans and Democrats alike (including Franken himself) have been calling for an ethics investigation. No one is ignoring this.

https://twitter.com/kibblesmith/status/931319471557443585

And because of that, Trump’s sanctimonious deflection is glaringly transparent.

https://twitter.com/amandawgolden/status/931359961271160832

https://twitter.com/ezraklein/status/931359375733809152

https://twitter.com/rezaaslan/status/931359859693383681

https://twitter.com/JessicaValenti/status/931370032076087296

Trump’s “whataboutism” very often works as a deflection and a distraction. But his assumption that other people care as little about women and sexual assault as he does has spectacularly backfired here.

Plus, the icing on the turd cake: He misspelled Frankenstein. He literally can do nothing right.

(image: Shutterstock, Twitter)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.