Donald Trump has attacked so many women in so many ways for their looks, their age, or their position it can be hard to keep track. He called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman,” Omarosa Manigault “a dog,” and Rosie O’Donnell “a fat pig”; he said Megan Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever” and claimed that “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” Brezenski had been “bleeding badly from a face-lift” at a party he hosted at his home. And on, and on, and on, with reporters and other women of color frequently singled out for attacks.
But the president took his attacks on strong, accomplished and independent women even further in his attacks on his own U.S. ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that “the former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news.” That was in the now infamous phone call that led to the impeachment hearings that began this week, and Friday, in the middle of Yovanovitch’s testimony there, he tweeted that “everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” That was bad enough to even draw rebukes from Republican Congresswomen Elise Stefiniak and Liz Cheney.
The real issue, though, goes beyond the attitude of President Grab Them By the P*ssy to the way the Republican party Trump leads has embraced his attitude toward women and his disrespect for them. The modern GOP is a party for white men, led by white men. There are only 13 Republican women in the House of Representatives, and eight senators—and just 660 Republican women in state legislatures, down from 705 in 2018. The party of family values has at its helm a misogynist who has been accused of sexual assault and even rape by a staggering number of women.
Republicans barely seem to care, and Trump knows it. So he continues to walk his party and his country down the path of sexism, racism, bullying, and angry tirades on social media. Trump knows that if he calls a woman “unstable” “wacky” or “crazy” or talks about how she has a “bad reputation” or is “causing trouble” that it strikes a chord with his white male base. He loves to play to Americans’ lowest impulses.
The problem, however, for Trump and the angry white men of the GOP is that they are destroying their election possibilities with each passing election cycle as more and more women run for office, win office, redraw congressional maps, and make policy. If the GOP continues on this course, it will lose more female members in 2020 (we already know that they will lose sitting Reps. Martha Roby and Susan Brooks, who announced their retirements this year).
My message to Stefiniak and Cheney, as well as to Senate moderates Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, is that they have a meeting in the ladies’ room and get it together. The party is in deep trouble with women, who are increasingly voting blue.
Start with President Trump. March yourselves down to the White House remind him that you are elected officials whose support he needs, and that you will not look at or tolerate attacks on women—any woman—anymore.