Donald Trump, clown prince of slime: Why are we still pretending this sexist joker is a serious candidate?

His disgusting show at Thursday's debate should have been shut down

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Senior Writer

Published August 7, 2015 2:50PM (EDT)

  (Reuters/Brian Snyder)
(Reuters/Brian Snyder)

In the aftermath of Thursday's Republican debate, I have just one question: Why are we still putting up with this nonsense?

Seriously. Watching the whole thing was a lot like being Will Ferrell in "Zoolander" — like taking crazy pills. But while there were plenty of WTF moments in the debate — remember Huckabee's digression about pimps and prostitutes? — it was inevitably Donald Trump's night to shine. And by shine, I mean be a complete turd.

He really went the full Donald throughout the event, but there was one moment in particular that really encapsulated both the man and our whole wider sorry current state of affairs. It was when Megyn Kelly observed to him, "You call women you don’t like 'fat pigs,' 'dogs,' 'slobs,' and 'disgusting animals.'" Trump was quick to fire back, "Only Rosie O'Donnell" — the former cohost of "The View" whom Trump has indeed referred to as "a real loser… my nice, fat little Rosie," and complained about having "that fat, ugly face." The audience, in response, cheered, laughed and applauded.

When Kelly pressed on, saying, "You once told a contestant on 'The Celebrity Apprentice' that it 'would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees.' Does that sound to you like the temperament of someone we should elect as president? How would you answer the question from Hillary Clinton… that you are part of the war on women?" Trump cavalierly replied, "I don’t have time for total political correctness… What I say is fun, it’s kidding, we have a good time." And the rest of the room let this garbage stand.

To put those kinds of comments in context, if a kid at my children's summer camp said anything remotely like that — calling another person a "fat pig" and laughing about it — he'd get a time out and a phone call home to his parents. Yet this pile of hate with hair gets to get up in front of the country and say with a straight face that he deserves its highest office, and as far as I can tell, so far everybody else is just standing around going, "Derp derp derp, okay, Donald!" What. In the literal hell.

Not that Trump's remarks come as any surprise — as Kelly correctly noted, his public track record of commentary both about specific women and the fair sex in general is like taking a trip in Elizabeth Warren's time machine. And just to be clear on where he stands currently, Trump followed up his Thursday performance with a rousing series of tweets excoriating Kelly for challenging him on his views on females, culminating in calling her a "bimbo."

It's one thing if you're some blowhard with a radio show or a full-time reality TV clown. In those forums, sure, you say your crap and the sad little baby men who make up your audience clap their hands that may or may not have evolved opposable thumbs and go, "That guy tells it like it is!" But how long are we supposed to humor this dreck at the level of allegedly legitimate politics?

Every moment that Donald Trump is still given a platform to say horrible things about women and then laugh about them is a moment that we as a nation lose credibility, both to our neighbors and ourselves. Every moment that somebody doesn't walk up to this dummy and just take his microphone away from him, Krakauer style, is a moment we are tacitly saying, yeah, it's cool to tell women they're pigs and bimbos. It's cool within the context of serious conversations about how we're going to run our country. It's not funny. It's not "fun." It's not "kidding." It's just embarrassing, for all of us.

By Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a senior writer for Salon and author of "A Series of Catastrophes & Miracles."

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Donald Trump Megyn Kelly Republican Debate Rosie O'donnell Tv