A woman can’t do her job because she has a nice smile. This modern thought was brought to you by a Republican Representative in a Congressional Ways and Means hearing of all places.
In the Ways and Means hearing on Friday, Representative Greg Murphy (R-NC) told Ambassador Katherine Tai that she is “handicapped” by being “too nice” to do her job, since negotiators are usually “very, very tough… not nice people, like you” and he “feels sorry for you.”
Murphy, who is a urologist — that is to say, not necessarily an expert on trade — suggested that caring about “green things” was hampering the U.S. as well, and lamented the fact that we can’t use slave labor like China does.
When Tai took issue with this, Murphy claimed it was her “smile” that signaled her weakness. He went off on a pork trade tirade (pork exports to China have dropped in the last year while increasing to Mexico, but overall they have dropped by 11% and this might be in part because pork production was down) and then pivoted back to, “You have too nice a smile.”
Ambassador Tai took this moment to display how not-nice she can be. “I also don’t need you to feel sorry for me.”
Tai is, it should be noted, the principal trade advisor, negotiator, and spokesperson on U.S. trade policy. She’s fluent in Mandarin and has a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. Oh, and she used to be Chief Trade Counsel and Trade Subcommittee Staff Director for… the House Ways and Means Committee.
Murphy peddled his ‘this administration is weak on China’ message (there are serious problems with China and the U.S. is in a weakened position, but certainly didn’t get there because of President Joe Biden’s policies), to which she countered: “OK, well let me take off the nice a little bit. I don’t need your pity. I stand up for the American people. When I speak, people listen because I represent the interests of the United States.”
It’s giving Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) swearing at Secretary Janet Yellen, “I don’t give a sh*t if you wear a red hat or a blue hat. Wear something that’s red, white, and blue and look at how it is that you represent back home.”
Indeed! It’s not enough that Republicans are trying to control what we can all do with our bodies, but they also want to control what we read and even history itself. This attitude of entitlement to authority over others lends itself to making supremely embarrassing Facebook Grandpa comments about women’s smiles and what they wear.
In the Post-Roe Age, there isn’t really a question anymore about Republican sexism. It’s not something that needs to be debated, unless to ask: How much? It’s assumed to be baked into the brand.
But today, that sexism was brought to Archie Bunker levels of public stupidity.
Listen to Sarah on the PoliticusUSA Pod on The Daily newsletter podcast here.
Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then VP Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively covered her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then President Donald Trump.
Sarah is two-time Telly award winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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