As 33-year career diplomat Marie Yovanovitch testified with dignity and clarity Friday, the man pretending to be president of this once great nation attacked her publicly trying to intimidate a witness in real time.
As his weapon, Trump used the same creepy sexual domination he used to stalk Hillary Clinton during a televised debate to which he had invited women with whom her husband had had sexual relationships.
Yovanovitch, who has served under both Republican and Democratic presidents, confirmed that the President’s actions were and have been intimidating.
Rep. Adam Schiff asked the former Ambassador, “Ambassador, you’ve shown the courage to come forward today and testify. Notwithstanding the fact you were urged by the White House or State Department not to, notwithstanding the fact that as you testified earlier, the president implicitly threatened you in that call record. And now the president real time is attacking you. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?”
She replied, “Well, it’s very intimidating. I mean, I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.”
Trump did this because he could not refute her charge that Trump has given over U.S. foreign policy to foreign and private interests and that his shadow state department and personal lawyer (who is now being investigated by federal prosecutors for failing to register as a foreign agent, which only reinforces Yovanovitch’s claims) Rudy Giuliani and corrupt Ukrainians manipulated him into firing his own ambassador.
Trump – a man who, by the way, has not worked in this line of work for 33 years and has shown that he puts himself over the United States – reminded her that she was “serving at the pleasure of the President.”
As if foreign diplomats served as the presidential Fifty Shades of Grey — undermining her authority, her expertise, her right to be treated decently, her career, her knowledge, her opinions, her work, her mission (which by the way was the mission FOR the United States, unlike Donald Trump’s shadow foreign policy), and her sense of self.
Trump deliberately publicly relegated her to a person “in service” to him, because he is an expert at being a sinister predator but lacks the intelligence to be subtle about it.
It reminds many of us of how Trump and Republicans treated Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, pouring salt on a deep wound that was already set not to heal for at least a generation.
Former federal prosecutor and NBC/MSNBC legal analyst Mimi Rocah noted the general similarity:
Am I the only one who feels during the testimony of Amb. Yovanovitch the way I felt during the testimony of Dr. Ford? Pride at her courage & anger at corrupt men trying to take her down.
— Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1) November 15, 2019
Chris Matthews during an MSNBC segment discussing Trump’s real time witness tampering, said, “The President of the United States said, ‘She’s gonna have some things come her way,’ which sounds pretty intimidating, in fact a bit frightening.”
Matthews pointed out that Yovanovitch provoked Trump with her credibility:
Trump and his thugs respond to credibility and integrity (things they can’t understand) by attacking. They attack wherever they think someone is weak.
In case anyone isn’t seeing it yet (the president lashing out to undermine a professional woman when he feels threatened), Trump also suggested that Speaker Nancy Pelosi should be “home cleaning up”:
The Impeachment Witch Hunt should be over with the statement made last night by the President and Foreign Minister of Ukraine. Nervous Nancy Pelosi, who should be home cleaning up the dangerous & disgusting Slum she is making of her District in San Francisco, where even the……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
Yovanovitch is yet another highly professional, competent woman railroaded by Trump and his mob of Republican conspiracy thugs.
People will argue that Trump doesn’t just hate women, and they are right. He abuses anyone vulnerable, anyone he sees as “less than” – which is to say, anyone he thinks he can get away with kicking when he is down.
The psychology at play in misogyny, racism, bigotry and intolerance is a belief in the power-over and power-under paradigm. Instead of believing he has a responsibility due to his privilege to protect and offer opportunity to others (a sense of noblesse oblige that we expect in our leaders), Trump sees himself as the Macho Man. Only, unlike the heroes he no doubt wants to believe he emulates, he proves he is top dog by kicking children, women, people of color, people who don’t subscribe to traditional beliefs (as if he does with his utter failure to be a father and husband) — basically anyone who is not a rich white man. They are not immune, but cowards like Trump start at what he sees as the bottom, where they feel the fight is easy. (Leave it for another day that Trump is consistently proven wrong about this by Speaker Pelosi and other powerful women; suffice it to say, learning from experience is not in Trump’s took kit.)
Trump pokes at what he (so tellingly) sees as a vulnerability when he feels threatened. He pokes at a disability, a sexual orientation, a country of origin, color of skin, gender, immigration status, job title, status, weight – whatever is easy and carries a knock out punch.
The wisest thing anyone can say about dealing with Donald Trump is if he hasn’t kicked you yet and you think you’re immune, you’re a fool. Trump’s misogyny is just another way of demonstrating his own weakness and failure to be a man of any honor. And it’s not just Trump.
The Republicans enabling yet another disgusting attack on a woman of integrity, another woman whose career they ruined as if it were their right, are the saddest sight of all. Many of them know better and might even have been better men at one time.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
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 has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.