Trump has somehow gotten more vile: It's no wonder women don't like him, and his new Hillary attack ad won't help

In Instagram video, presumptive nominee accuses Hillary of laughing off her husband's sexual assault allegations

By Bob Cesca
May 24, 2016 1:58PM (UTC)
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Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump (AP/Andrew Harnik/Reuters/Jim Bourg/Salon)

Roughly 70 percent of women in the United States hate Donald Trump. The reasons are too innumerable to list here, but we can begin with his flagrantly sexist zinger about Megyn Kelly's alleged menstrual issues. Stir into the mix Trump's tweet about how women should expect to be assaulted in the military because they're choosing to serve with men, then wrap up the list with this: "All of the women on 'The Apprentice' flirted with me -- consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected." Eww.

Indeed, if women voted against Trump en masse, Hillary Clinton would easily win all 50 states, according to Nate Silver, effectively racking up a landslide bigger than Reagan's 1984 shellacking of Walter Mondale. Not only that, but the down-ballot races would see massive shifts in the make-up of Congress and state legislatures, reversing conservative trends in state laws, including devastating anti-choice legislation. Oh, and perhaps the Equal Rights Amendment would finally be ratified. At the very least, women would acquire representation in government equal to their majority share of the population.


That said, too many women will likely vote for Trump anyway, even though he absolutely thinks wives should be held responsible for the infidelities of their husbands.

On Monday, Trump dropped a video on Instagram in which the presumptive GOP presidential nominee accused Hillary of laughing off her husband's alleged sexual assault incidents during the 1990s. In the video, we see a stark image of President Clinton with a cigar in his mouth slowly dissolving into view while the sound of various women in Clinton's past speak about their run-ins with the former chief executive. There's Monica Lewinsky saying, "I was very nervous." There's Kathleen Wiley saying, "No woman should be subjected to it. It was an assault." And there's Juanita Broaddrick, who accused Clinton of raping her, saying, "[Clinton] started to bite my top lip and I tried to pull away from him."

The image of Clinton cuts away to a shot of Hillary and Bill Clinton together with the text, "Here we go again?" The sound here is what's really revealing — Hillary's famous laugh. This is followed by Trump's logo and slogan, "Make America Great Again."


Is Hillary really protecting women?

A video posted by Donald J. Trump (@realdonaldtrump) on

There's so much awfulness contained within this short video, it's difficult to know where to begin.

1) The cigar. First, the too-obvious use of the cigar photo is meant to recall the story of Clinton asking Lewinsky to insert a cigar into her vagina before Clinton smoked it. No one's ever accused Trump of being subtle, and the presence of the cigar is a cudgel to anyone who remembers the late 1990s and the ridiculous impeachment proceedings against the president. Especially Hillary herself. So, yes, we get it. The vagina cigar. But remind us again why Hillary should be held accountable for it. Was she there? Did she help to cover it up? Did she invent the idea in the first place? No, no and no.


2) Blame Hillary. Trump, meanwhile, is the nominee from the Party of Personal Responsibility. So, does Trump believe his three wives are responsible for his well-known infidelities? We should assume so, based on this video and Trump's other statements about Bill Clinton's affairs. But why, then, is a member of the Party of Personal Responsibility accusing a man's wife for the man's cheating? That's what's called deflecting, rather than targeting the true culprit -- the true culprit whose personal dalliances are almost entirely irrelevant to the would-be presidency of his wife, 16 years later no less.

3) Hillary as a rape enabler. The caption under the video reads: "Is Hillary really protecting women?" Hillary was clearly one of her husband's victims, not an accomplice, but from the tone of the video, you'd think Hillary helped Bill coerce his women into being kindly enough to have sex with him — or worse. There's no doubt that Bill Clinton acted irresponsibly and recklessly, and, from what we know now, most of it occurred behind the then-First Lady's back. How, then, was she supposed to protect women at the time? I can only imagine the conservative reaction if Hillary had stepped out in 1998 to condemn her husband.


Anyone who remembers the 1990s knows that the ludicrously unfair anti-Hillary accusations of misandry would've been greatly amplified, and she would've been publicly ridiculed for grandstanding and piling on. Indeed, if one thing would've exonerated Bill in the eyes of the public it would've been Hillary divorcing Bill and making statements condemning him in the process. No matter how she reacted, the GOP would've pilloried her, followed closely by pro-Clinton Democrats because she helped take down the president. But the attacks from the GOP alone would've annihilated her because, after all, in addition to being the so-called Party of Personal Responsibility, they're also the Family Values Party. The Bible doesn't look favorably upon divorce, while it also features violent sanctions against wives who refuse to honor their husbands. But it's okay if husbands like Trump cheat all they want.

4) The laugh. It's red meat for the far-right, which collectively believes Hillary's laugh alone is disqualifying enough. But the idea that Hillary simply laughed off Bill's infidelities is perhaps the harshest aspect of the video. From most accounts to the contrary, Hillary was mortified and humiliated by Bill's ongoing affairs and was made to look like a cuckold in eyes of world. I challenge anyone to deal with such a degree of mortification and to emerge from the other side as a noteworthy U.S. senator, Secretary of State and presumptive presidential nominee.

5) Rape again. Trump has officially joined a list of conservatives who don't know how to talk about rape, thus justifying the prime directive for all Republicans: Don't Talk About Rape. Not only is rape not the fault of the victim, but it's not the fault of the accused's spouse. Of course. By the way, Trump's first wife, Ivana, famously accused Donald of raping her while they were married. If true, is this partly Ivana's fault? Or perhaps it's the fault of Trump's second wife, Marla Maples, for not backing Ivana and consequently enabling Trump's behavior.


There's something especially perverse about the "Make America Great Again" slogan at the end. Making America great apparently involves electing a renowned philanderer — an inexperienced policy neophyte and misogynistic thrice-married New York socialite with an anti-woman dossier a mile long — over a fully experienced woman, Hillary Clinton, who's both a policy wonk and who's never been confirmed to have cheated on her husband ever, but who's accused by Trump of sharing responsibility for her husband's affairs.

No wonder women don't like Trump, and this new video won't help. Even still, far too many women will remain in Trump's camp, sharing and retweeting this irrational attack ad as if it makes some sort of profound sense. This is what the GOP has become: nominating a guy who's on his third wife against a woman who they think is blameworthy for her husband's affairs, yet who decided to remain married to him in spite of it all. In other words, remaining married and faithful to a cheating man is shame-worthy and disqualifies her from the presidency, while divorcing two wives and marrying a third is not only completely worthy of the Oval Office, but it's a sign of greatness.

Bob Cesca

Bob Cesca is a regular contributor to Salon. He's also the host of "The Bob Cesca Show" podcast, and a weekly guest on both the "Stephanie Miller Show" and "Tell Me Everything with John Fugelsang." Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Contribute through LaterPay to support Bob's Salon articles -- all money donated goes directly to the writer.


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