The allegation that the president’s most recent campaign manager beat his wife hardly even made a ripple in the swirling sea of news upon which we now ride every day. But it should have, and the fact that it didn’t shows how steeped in misogyny Trumpworld is.
On Sunday, Brad Parscale was the third of Trump’s campaign managers to be arrested. But this arrest was unlike the other two. This arrest wasn’t like the arrest of Steve Bannon for federal fraud charges or the arrest of Paul Manafort after “being convicted or pleading guilty to a broad array of charges including bank and tax fraud, witness tampering and conspiracy against the United States.”
No, the arrest of Brad Parscale was very different than the arrest of the president’s two other campaign managers. Because on Sunday, Brad Parscale was taken into custody amid allegations of domestic violence. The Trump campaign is no stranger to domestic violence, but this was the first time a Trump campaign manager faced allegations of it.
On Sunday afternoon, Candice Parscale ran from her own home and caught a real-estate agent who was showing a home nearby. The agent Candice Parscale flagged down to call the police is recorded on the 911 call as saying, “Oh no, did he do that? Oh my gosh, your arms, both your arms, has he been hurting you?”
Later, police officers arrived at the house. When officers asked Candice how she got bruises on her arms and face, she “stated Brad Parscale hits her.” When police came to the home of the man who was Trump’s campaign manager until two months ago, they reported they found Candice with what looked like signs of domestic abuse. One officer wrote that Candice “had several bruises on both of her arms as well as scratches and bruising on her face,” and other noted “several large sized contusions on both of her arms, her cheek and forehead.”
In the end, police took 10 guns from the home and took Brad Parscale into custody under the Baker Act, “which authorizes involuntary hospitalization of those considered a threat to themselves or others for psychiatric evaluation.” It was the kind of thing that in a normal presidency might be considered to be an enormous scandal. But in Trumpworld, it’s just called a Sunday.
On Wednesday afternoon, Candice released another statement walking back the allegations of abuse detailed in a police report: “The statements I made on Sunday have been misconstrued, let it be clear my husband was not violent towards me that day or any day prior.”
Whatever happened here, it was far from the first time there had been allegations of violence against women by men involved in Trump’s campaigns. In 2016, Corey Lewandowski was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges after grabbing the arm of a female Breitbart reporter.
Then there’s Rob Porter, the White House aide who was accused of abusing not one but two of his former wives. One allegation of domestic violence is bad, two is worse, and by the time you get to multiple allegations of violence against women by multiple members of the Trump campaign and administration—most notably and obviously including Trump himself—one has to wonder if violence is actually the brand. After all, this is the guy who bragged about “pussy grabbing” and who has 20-whatever sexual assault allegations lodged against him.
But perhaps the most openly misogynist move of the Trump campaign, and there are lots of them, is the rehiring of Jason Miller. You’ll remember Jason Miller as the guy who impregnated A.J. Delgado during his own wife’s pregnancy and then told her she couldn’t be seen “waddling around the White House pregnant.”
But wait, there’s more! In a deposition, Miller also confessed to “other indiscretions,” including visiting “Asian themed” massage parlors.
Hiring Miller back is a slap in the face to women everywhere. It shows that Trumpworld doesn’t really care if its employees degrade and mistreat women. There are also allegations that Miller is hiding his income so that he doesn’t have to pay $3,167 a month in child support. Imagine if you will a normal political campaign rehiring someone like this. It’s absolutely unimaginable, but in Trumpworld it’s just what they do.
But perhaps that’s the problem—that none of these are so beyond the pale for Trumpworld. Remember, this is the guy who is alleged to have “violently assaulted” first wife Ivana. A 1993 book on Trump included the sentence: “According to versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, ‘he raped me.’”
The misogyny, the violence, the abuse toward women aren’t a bug in Trumpworld, they’re a feature. It’s not a coincidence that men keep abusing their wives in Trumpworld; it’s the brand, it’s the way they operate. Misogyny is the underlying condition of the Trump administration, it’s the foundation. It’s the way Trump got elected in the first place, with chants of “lock her up” and “send them back.”
Trump has brought violence toward women back into the mainstream. He hasn’t tacitly accepted it; he’s embraced it. And just this month, he and Mitch McConnell, on order from the National Rifle Association, stopped the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The scars on these women and on our culture, psychic and in some cases physical, are too real and will not be cured in November or even January. It will take years to unwind the misogyny that Trumpworld has ginned up.
CORRECTION: Brad Parscale has not been charged following his arrest Sunday after an incident at his Fort Lauderdale home, where police say he was threatening to harm himself. A previous version of this column incorrectly reported he has been charged with domestic violence.