The revelation that Donald Trump might have avoided 18 years of federal taxes by claiming a stunning $916 million loss in 1995 has knocked his sexist abuse of Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe, off the front pages. But the hits keep coming when it comes to Trump’s creepy treatment of women. We have got a lot of evidence now that Trump is a sexist pig.
In his Twitter tirade against Machado last week, Trump claimed she appeared in a “sex tape.” She didn’t. In fact, BuzzFeed revealed Friday that only one player in the Trump-Machado battle has appeared in a porn movie—and that’s Trump, not Machado. The 2016 GOP presidential nominee appeared in the 1999 soft-core film, Playboy Video Centerfold 2000, fully clothed and breaking a champagne bottle over a car in the film’s cheesy opening scenes. With that in mind, the Internet quickly dug up a 1990 Associated Press report that Trump pressured second wife Marla Maples to pose nude in Playboy, as part of a bizarre reputation-cleanup scheme. “Donald doesn’t want Marla to look like she’s against Ivana,” public relations aide Chuck Jones said at the time. “Donald wants picture approval. Donald says to emphasize her early years.”
How posing nude in Playboy might make Maples seem more wholesome is unclear. But Trump’s besieged second wife did manage to assert herself and refuse what was said to be a million-dollar Playboy centerfold offer. “Trump himself was on the phone negotiating the fee,” a Playboy editor said. “He wanted her to do the nude layout. She didn’t.” “I’m thankful for my body, but I didn’t want to exploit it,” Maples told the AP reporter. “How would I ever be taken seriously?” (One way might be to release Donald’s 1995 tax documents, which is just a rumor right now, but one I dearly hope is true.)
In July, Jezebel dug up a nugget from journalist Wayne Barrett’s great book, where he reported Trump tried to pressure his staffers to pose for a “Girls of Trump” Playboy spread. Trump “wooed his most shapely staffers, including a former beauty queen secretary, into posing for the magazine with a sliding scale of offers on everything from full nude to breast to ‘wet-lip’ shots,” Barrett reported in 1991. “It was all part of the rakish ethos of phony glamour that he consciously fostered, even to the extent of concealing from public view a very efficient secretary with a pimplish facial condition.”
The Trump campaign denied the allegation, and Playboy editors say they have no memory of the 25-year-ago proposal, his pressure on Maples to do a centerfold spread, plus his own cameo in a Playboy porn video, all in the same time frame, makes the report believable. Trump’s propensity to throw stones from his tacky mansion of glass continues to astound.
On Monday the Associated Press brought us an extensive report exposing Trump’s history of harassing female employees and contestants in his years starring in NBC’s The Apprentice.
“If there was a break in the conversation, he would then look at one of the female cast members, saying ‘you’re looking kind of hot today, I love that dress on you,’ then he would turn to one of the male cast members and say ‘wouldn’t you sleep with her?’ and then everyone would laugh,” a former crew member told the AP. “There would be about 10 or 12 cameras rolling and getting that footage, which is why everybody was like, this guy just doesn’t care.” A contestant on the show, Gene Folkes remembered the same thing: “If you didn’t answer, he would dig in and say, ‘Do you think so and so is attractive? Would you sleep with her? Well, what about if you really had to, would you?’”
The creepiest detail, at least to me: Eight former crew members said Trump made “lewd comments” about a camerawoman while comparing her to his daughter Ivanka. He flirted with a contestant he also said reminded him of his daughter, asking her to twirl around so he could admire her body.
While it’s not in the same category of abuse, Trump continued his sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton Saturday night with a bizarre, rambling speech that many observers interpreted as Trump venting anxiety while waiting for The New York Times to publish its tax story. He suggested Clinton might be “crazy,” that she hadn’t been “loyal” to her husband, and physically mocked her for her bout with pneumonia last month. As The Washington Post described it: “Trump flailed his arms and jostled side to side. He then walked unsteadily away from the podium as if he were about to fall over, imitating a video from last month that captured Clinton leaving a 9/11 memorial service early and buckling as she tried to get into her van.”
On the eve of the vice-presidential debate, I hope moderator Elaine Quijano of CBS asks Trump’s conservative Christian running mate Mike Pence how he feels about his partner’s pushing women into porn and sexually harassing them. Maybe more important, though: I hope she asks Pence about his role in rolling back women’s rights while he was in Congress. While Trump controls the women in his life sexually, Pence wants to control all women, politically. Maybe the two have more in common than we thought.