Reaction to The New York Times’s splashy Sunday front-page spread on Donald Trump’s offensive behavior toward women broke fairly sharply along gender lines. Even some male Democrats thought the Times overplayed its hand, as typified by this tweet from David Axelrod:
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) May 15, 2016
Speaking for a lot of progressive women, Center for American Progress Action Fund president Neera Tanden replied:
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) May 15, 2016
I’m with her.
I was disgusted by the Times piece. Sure, a few of the stories were relatively mundane—since many of us suspect there’s probably worse out there—but the examples of sexist insults and slights and harassment were mind-numbingly numerous. (Let’s set aside, for now, the fact that former model and Trump girlfriend Rowanne Brewer Lane told Fox News Monday morning that the Times took her story out of context.) It showed how at every point in the female lifespan, whether you’re his 16-year-old daughter or a middle-aged top professional, Trump openly judges women as sexual commodities whose looks are his to admire or criticize.
There were serious allegations that bordered on sexual harassment and even assault: unwanted kissing and groping, plus an already published story about ex-wife Ivana Trump’s charge, in a sworn deposition, that he raped her during a fight. That came during a bitter divorce; when it was settled she issued a statement saying: “I referred to this as a ‘rape,’ but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense…. I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited toward me, was absent.”
But the backbone of the Times piece is the story of how Trump treats women in the workplace, as confirmed on the record by Barbara Res, whom he hired as head of construction in the 1980s. Trump boasts of how his father wouldn’t have made the same choice, supposedly proof of his own evolved views about women. But Res describes him as far less evolved than he thinks. She endured a steady monologue of his sexist comments about women they encountered, whether on the street or in the office, and then, when she gained weight, about her own body. “You like your candy,” he told her.