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Trump’s Response to Criticism? Misogyny With a Dash of Racism

Donald Trump points to where his brain is supposed to be

Donald Trump is an insecure, petty, ignorant man who hates being reminded of how insecure, petty and ignorant he is. He hates the truth, especially when the truth is that he botched the response to a national crisis and many people are dying. And he hates it even more when he’s confronted about it by a woman.

That’s the thesis of a new piece out today from The New York Times by Anne Karni. The article focuses on Trump’s response to the crisis he helped exacerbate and how it has seen him lashing out at many women. His targets have included Nancy Pelosi, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, General Motors chief executive Mary Barra, and most recently PBS NewsHour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.

The Times, as well as Trump’s defenders, point out that Trump is a horrible bully to everyone, noting that he’s called Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington, names as well, along with jumping down the throats of many male reporters. But the way he talks to and about women, and especially women of color, is worthy of calling out and widespread criticism.

“Be nice. Don’t be threatening. Don’t be threatening. Be nice,” Trump snapped at Yamiche Alcindor (a black woman) when confronted with the fact he had claimed to have a feeling New York didn’t need as many supplies as they claimed. At other points he has criticized Alcindor personally, implying she was fired and calling her “snarky.”

The way Trump speaks to Alcindor is the way he speaks to any woman that dares bring up his failings. He lashes out like a cornered animal with insults and demeaning condescension, repeating what women have been hearing from him and other patriarchal, misogynist assholes for centuries: be nice or be silent.

This is what he did to Hillary Clinton in 2016, when he called her a “nasty woman.” He perpetuates the worst form of misogyny by implying with his words and demeanor and actions that women have no place except to be deferential and accommodating to men. The subtext here is, of course, the women are inferior and only useful when we’re subsequent, silent and sexually available. This admonition is doubly offensive for women of color, who have historically been stereotyped as “angry” and uncouth.

To see the leader of our country act like this day in and day out is exhausting and sickening. It’s not that we expect better from a monster like Donald Trump, it’s that he normalizes the kind of sexism and misogyny that should have been left in the 19th century. He sends the message to every other ignorant, petty, insecure man out there that it’s okay to tell women to shut up. It’s okay to idealize women who are pretty, subservient and silent. It’s not sexist to want women to shut up and get back in their place, it’s presidential.

If nothing else, this crisis will hopefully show the nation what a poor leader and a pathetic excuse for a human being Donald Trump is. It was possible for some people in the past to ignore his sexism, racism, and hatefulness, even as so many suffered, but now it’s everyone that’s suffering, everyone who’s threatened. It’s everyone that’s become the victim of his narcissism, ignorance, and prejudice. And maybe, finally, we’ll all agree that the only nasty individual who needs to shut up and get out of public life forever, is him.

(via The New York Times, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.