Gene Lyons: Trump’s woman problem
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I used to have this poster in my office reflecting the timeless wisdom of a relief pitcher named Larry Andersen. Today he does radio broadcasts for the Philadelphia Phillies. A friend who’s a calligrapher made it for me.
“Hey, you’re only young once, but you can be immature forever.”
The poster got lost after we moved, and my wife doesn’t miss it. Possibly because it reflects an aspect of my personality she’s sometimes uneasy with: the part that helps me do a pretty good Donald Trump impression.
The part that reflects my bygone youth in New Jersey, the Insult State.
The part that makes her laugh until I imitate Trump attacking Hillary Clinton as a woman The Donald would not want to see naked.
The accent, gestures and exaggerated mugging all come easy. You’ve just got to imagine a chimpanzee with a trust fund. See, if he hadn’t inherited a couple of hundred million bucks from his old man, Trump would have ended up cheating used car buyers and standing around on New York street corners patting his groin and hooting at passing women with the other primates.
“Hey baby, I got a piece of candy for you. Right here in my pants.”
How Trump reacts to finishing second in Iowa remains to be seen. I’m guessing the minute he realizes he can’t bulldoze and bluff his way to the presidency, he’s gone. But at least he’s given us some laughs, more than you can say for most of them.
Which brings us to Trump’s big celebrity feud with Fox News head blonde Megyn Kelly. Has any victim of The Donald’s verbal assaults ever benefited more from his scorn?
Before the two tangled during the first GOP presidential debate, Kelly was best known among the cable channel’s audience of AARP All-Stars as a foot soldier in the annual “War on Christmas” who once indignantly assured viewers that Santa Claus is a white man. Also an imaginary man, but never mind.
Now thanks to Trump, she’s a name brand. It’ll be interesting to watch where the notoriety takes her. At 45, she’s probably too old to be the fourth Mrs. Trump, but wouldn’t that be an entertaining premise for a bad movie?
The feud began, as the world knows, when Kelly, an incisive interviewer, asked The Donald about his practice of calling women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.” He tried to joke his way out of it, but Kelly doubled down, asking about the time he told a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” how cute she’d look on her knees.
A classic bully, Trump whined that Kelly was biased. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” he told CNN.
He’s all chivalry, our Mr. Trump.
Bickering continued until The Donald tried to make Fox News drop Kelly as moderator of its next GOP debate, which he vowed to boycott unless he got his way. CEO Roger Ailes called his bluff. Refusing to show up now looks like a mistake after Iowa. Trump’s going to bully foreign leaders into submission, but a TV executive defied him and he’s afraid of a girl?
Not good for the brand.
Smarting, Trump then said he wouldn’t call Kelly a “bimbo” because it would be “politically incorrect.” That’s Republican-speak for refusing to call a spade a spade. (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Know what they mean?)
Next he reposted some pinup shots of Kelly on Twitter: “Criticizes Trump for objectifying women. Poses like this in GQ magazine.”
I hesitate to admit that I laughed out loud. Low-cut negligee, “Hello, Sailor” look and all, Kelly didn’t much resemble Walter Cronkite.
Not that valuing women strictly as sexual objects was what Kelly complained about. But whatever else you can say about Trump, he’s got a subversive sense of humor.
Should it matter that Mrs. Donald Trump, version 3.0, has herself posed buck nekkid for GQ? Perhaps not, but it’s funny too.
I wonder if Mrs. Trump’s prenuptial agreement is fully vested. Because it’s hard to think that First Lady is a role that would suit her. In some ways, the White House is the jewel of the federal penitentiary system.
Meanwhile, Washington Post reporter Janell Ross, seemingly not from New Jersey, asked some pertinent questions:
“Doesn’t the content of that tweet … strongly support the core theories behind the question that Kelly asked Trump in the very first debate? Is a man who seems to view assessments of women based largely or perhaps only on their appearance fit for the Oval Office in 2016? And, if he is, what are the political ramifications of putting him in office and giving him the bully pulpit?”
The correct answers are: yes, no, and more of the same.
But Melania can rest easy, because it’s not going to happen.
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