Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace, asked Republican chairman Reince Priebus the one question that Republicans don’t want to answer, and the RNC boss’s non-response could have devastating consequences for Republican candidates.
CHRIS WALLACE: Chairman, I want to start with that article in the New York Times today. It’s called “Crossing the Line: Trump’s Private Conduct with Women.” They did more than 50 interviews over six weeks and they say they found repeated instances of Trump insulting women and making unwanted advances, even in the workplace.
Chairman Priebus, does that bother you?
REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, you know, a lot of things bother me, Chris, and obviously I’m the wrong person to be asking that particular question, but, look, we’ve been —
WALLACE: Wait a minute. Why are you the wrong person? I mean, you are the chairman of the party. This is your nominee and they’re saying that he has mistreated women over the years.
PRIEBUS: What I would say is, you know, we’ve been working on this primary for over a year, Chris, and I’ve got to tell you, I think that all these stories that come out and they come out every couple weeks, people just don’t care. I think people look at Donald Trump and say — and Hillary Clinton and say, who is going to bring an earthquake to Washington, D.C.?
I think the bigger issue when we make these judgments about people are, you know, whether or not individuals are throwing stones in glass houses and when people are hypocrites, obviously, that’s when these stories have an impact, but I don’t think Donald Trump in his personal life is something that people are looking at and saying, well, I’m surprised that he has had girlfriends in the past. That’s not what people look at Donald Trump for.
So I think the traditional playbook and analysis really don’t apply.
WALLACE: But forgive me, it’s not whether or not he had girlfriends, the question is whether or not he mistreated women, whether he made unwanted advances, whether he humiliated women in the workplace. I don’t understand why you say that people don’t care about that and are you going to look into the allegations?
PRIEBUS: Well, look, I’m not saying people don’t care about it, I’m just saying I think the reason he’s where he is at is that he represents something much different than the traditional analysis of individual candidates.
The question was simple. All Wallace did was ask Priebus if Trump’s treatment of women bothered him. A one-word answer would have solved everything. All Priebus had to say was yes. Instead, he danced around the question like his feet were on fire.
The problem for Republicans is that they are afraid that they will lose votes if they admit that sexually harassing women and behaving in a misogynistic way towards women is a bad thing. This is the same Republican Party that opposes equal pay for women, the rights of all women to make their own healthcare decisions, and trying to take healthcare resources and options away from women and girls.
Fox News Sunday screwed the Republican Party’s chances of making up ground with voters by pursuing a line of questioning that it was clear that Republicans don’t want to touch with a 100-foot pole. Trump’s attitude and behavior towards women is a continuation of the Republican tradition of showing women why they should never support the GOP.
One has to wonder if Fox News is out to sabotage Trump because the conservative network lit a match and put Reince Priebus on the hot seat. American voters continue to watch the Republican Party being burned to the ground from within.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association