“White House council for women and girls goes dark under Trump,” Politico reported Friday morning, the day after Donald Trump ranted on Twitter about Mika Brzezinski’s imaginary “bleeding” facelift on New Year’s Eve.
“The administration is evaluating whether to keep the office, created under President Barack Obama to focus on gender equality.”
No doubt the Trump administration was never going to keep this initiative going, but the fact that the White House Council On Women And Girls was reported to have gone dark the day following Trump’s misogyny fest offers a stark contrast and a reality check for those who claimed that the President’s tweets weren’t a “real” issue.
President Barack Obama’s White House Council on Women and Girls signaled to the all of the agencies operating under the executive branch that they needed to prioritize the advancement of equality, empowerment and protection of women and girls and work with women’s groups to identify key ways of doing so.
The Trump administration holds Ivanka Trump up as a shield against criticism that they don’t care about women’s issues. Even though Ivanka Trump claims to be about women’s empowerment, she fails so show a grasp of the meaning of feminism, and indeed tries to use it to cover for her father’s bigotry and misogyny, which is the opposite of what feminism stands for.
Ivanka Trump was told to use feminism to make her brand more marketable, and that is exactly what she’s trying to do for her father as well. It’s a way to manipulate people to line her pockets; not an ideology she would have ever needed to understand unless personally compelled by her character. Money does a lot to protect people from inequities.
That Ivanka is Donald Trump’s daughter became obvious when she abruptly ended a Cosmo interview during the campaign because she was asked pointed questions about her father’s paternity leave plan. This was not the act of a feminist.
At most, Ivanka has managed a weak “his comments were clearly inappropriate and offensive,” and that was only after the Billy Bush tape was released with Trump saying that he just grabs women by the genitals whether they like it or not. So effectively there is no one in the Trump administration who really cares about the issues facing women and girls.
This is not a surprise. Donald Trump governs like he is the misogynist, self-admitted sexual-assaulter he told us he was on that Billy Bush tape. Women knew it, we know it now, we are not surprised.
Some male journalists and too many Republicans and Trump’s Deputy Press Sec. Sarah Huckabee Sanders wondered why we can’t focus on “real issues” after Trump’s tweets – well, here it is. The misogyny on display against Mika, against Rosie, against Megyn, against every powerful and smart woman who has crossed Trump is also the same reason Republicans crafted a health care bill without one single woman at the table, a fact that shows in their bill.
It is also the reason Trump doesn’t want Obama’s Women and Girls initiative.
White men run this country, they run the media, and they run policy – especially in the Republican Party.
Donald Trump’s attacks on women aren’t new. To Mika and Joe who seem shocked to find out who Trump is: Trump has been harassing women journalists for decades. It’s only “new” as of the last two years because he’s doing it to you and in front of you now.
Being a feminist means we care when he does it to a conservative just like we care when he does it to a liberal. We care when he does it to other people, not just ourselves. We listen when women come forward with accounts of being harassed and abused by a powerful man.
We don’t pretend that bragging about grabbing women by their genitals is harmless “locker room talk,” because we KNOW it translates to our not having power in policy, we know it means the laws against rape are for other people – not for rich white men, we know it means that we are not equals in pay or in policy, and we know it means our bodies do not belong to us.
These things matter. Women’s lives matter.
Donald Trump sees women as nothing but objects that (not who) are only worth what he deems them worth based on his warped opinion about their looks. That is why he attacks women’s looks when he attacks women who are doing a job that requires brains; it diminishes them to one of his beauty contestants and makes him the decider of who is unlucky enough to warrant an unwanted sexual assault by him. This, he thinks, is his greatest compliment and greatest weapon.
What many do not realize is it is this which is so offensive to women. The President should not be discussing Mika’s cosmetic medical history or lack thereof. Mika Brzezinski is at least ten times smarter than Donald Trump. As are Rosie, Megyn, Katy, et al. They all deserve to be judged on the merits of their ideas, their talents, and their work. Judge them on the basis of their character, not whether or not they make Donald Trump want to violate their bodies.
To be “desired” by a sexual assaulter is not a goal for women. This is why he has to sexually assault women.
Women are worth more than their appearance. Women are human beings. Donald Trump dehumanizes women into objects, and those in charge in this country pat him on the back and on the rare occasion when they can muster an ounce of courage, tell him to “please stop,” but they dish out no real consequences.
The consequences are left to the women and girls of this country.
“With passion and courage, women have taught us that when we band together to advocate for our highest ideals, we can advance our common well-being and strengthen the fabric of our nation,” President Barack Obama said of women.
Back to “real” issues.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.