This was Sunday, when newly appointed Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was asked about her previous condemnations of Trump’s attacking, aggressive political style:
CONWAY: “I don’t like when people hurl personal insults. That will never change. That’s not my style, and I’m the mother of four children and it would be a terrible example for me to feel otherwise.”
Q: “Do you think that Mr. Trump is going to change on that?”
CONWAY: “Well, he doesn’t hurl personal insults.”
OK, then. This was her candidate less than 24 hours later:
Conway says that adults who hurl personal insults set a poor example for children, which they do. Yet in return for power, prestige and money, she has chosen to champion Trump’s election to be president of the United States, where he would serve as an example for tens of millions of American children, teaching them that the way to achieve power and popularity is to attack other people using the most vile language possible.
But that barely scratches the surface of what’s happening here. As someone who has fought to make her way in a very male-oriented profession, Conway is also acutely aware of the slurs and allegations often directed at successful women as a means to “keep them in their place”. In this case, her boss has retaliated against political criticism from Mika Brzezinski in much the same fashion as he retaliated against Megyn Kelly of Fox News, only worse. This time, Trump publicly accused Brzezinski of long-term adultery with her co-worker and co-host, Joe Scarborough. Their relationship, if any, ought to have no relevance in a political debate, but Trump went there anyway, stooping to the standard “when threatened, call her a ‘whore'” defense mechanism.
Trump also dredged up other classic sexist attack lines to hurl at Brzezinski, accusing her of being neurotic, insecure and a “not very bright mess”. Or to use the infamous phrase attached to Anita Hill a generation ago, “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty.”
Note that Trump used no such language to describe Scarborough.
It’s no surprise that Trump is losing among female voters by somewhere between 12 and 28 points, depending on the poll that you cite. The surprise is that the margin isn’t twice that large. I keep saying it, and I keep hoping and expecting that I’m right:
America, we are better than this.