Donald Trump has a well-documented intolerance for the wet stuff of life. Dirty diapers, breastfeeding, perspiration, urine—mere talk of it makes him grimace and squeal. He is an avowed germaphobe, after all, a man who once proudly admitted to “waging a personal crusade to replace the mandatory and unsanitary handshake with the Japanese custom of bowing.”
But the wet stuff is uniquely repulsive to Trump when it applies to women. It’s as if he can’t comprehend that women go to the bathroom (“Disgusting,” he said of Hillary Clinton’s mid-debate bathroom break in 2015), or that they breastfeed (“Disgusting,” he said of a lawyer who asked to leave a 2011 deposition to pump milk for her newborn).
He is straight up contemptuous of menstruation. Pussies are for grabbing, not for reproductive functions that cause them to bleed once a month. No wonder he suggested Megyn Kelly was on her period after she dared to challege him at a debate (“There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”)
But it’s not just menstrual blood that incites a peculiar rancor in Trump. He couldn’t help himself from evoking the image of a bloody Mika Brzezinski on Thursday morning in a puerile attack on her show and its criticism of his administration.
“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore),” he tweeted, before suggesting that he refused to hang out with “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and her co-host “Psycho Joe” Scarborough at Mar-a-Lago during the New Year’s Eve holiday because she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”
Crazy Mika and Psycho Joe had “insisted,” but Trump couldn’t bear the sight of “bleeding” Mika.
Perhaps, as my colleague Erin Ryan wrote, Trump was trying to say that the media cozies up to politicians for access and then dumps on them. Claiming that Brzezinski and Scarborough were begging to hang out with him at Mar-a-Lago would have made that point plenty clear.
But for Trump to get even, he had to get nasty by publicly revealing a private detail about Brzezinski’s supposed face-lift. And because that wasn’t nasty enough he had to get gory, too, by evoking an image that would make his supporters shudder: a bleeding woman.
The link between Brzezinski’s bloody face and her alleged betrayal evokes stereotypes of the Evil Woman.
Salem’s witches were thought to have drank blood in Satanic rituals, and villagers feared catching their diabolical disease from blood that trickled from their mouths during courtroom trials.
In ancient Greece, Thessailian witches were accused of concoting poisoning potions from their menstrual blood. Carrie’s supernatural—and eventually monstrous—power in the film adaptation of Stephen King’s horror story are linked to menstrual blood and pig’s blood, which she is drenched in before using her demonic gifts to enact revenge on her classmates at prom.
Trump surely didn’t have all of this historical context in mind when he fired off his tweet on Thursday morning. Nor would he own up to the sexism in his attack on Brzezinski.
If anything, he would probably chalk up his squeamishness about her “bleeding” face to germophobia and fastidiousness: he’s just a businessman who likes things neat and tidy. “To me, germs are just another kind of negativity,” he wrote in How To Get Rich.
But germaphobia is only the beginning of Trump’s afflictions. He appears to suffer from haemophobia (fear of blood) and menophobia (fear of menstrual blood), too.
But the line between Trump’s phobias and his weakness is thin. As president, he’s been forced to overcome his fear of shaking hands, but not his fear of women’s wet stuff. He trumpets that proudly, as if it demonstrates his hypermasculinity.
In Trump’s world, women talk about periods while men talk about sex and money. Ultimately, though, his obsessive preoccupation with body fluids only underscores the farce of his machismo. He thinks of himself as strong and tough, but one imagines him wretching at the sight of a used tampon, running from the bathroom shrieking and plugging his ears—then mocking the woman who failed to flush.