Sebastian Gorka, a former adviser to Donald Trump who was ousted in August, took to social media on Tuesday night to share his thoughts on the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal. In a message posted to Twitter, Gorka — who has reported ties to anti-Semitic groups in Europe — stated, “If Weinstein had obeyed @VP Pence's rules for meeting with the opposite sex, none of those poor women would ever have been abused.” Gorka is presumably referring to the ridiculous rules Pence laid out during a 2002 interview, in which he said that he refuses to have dinner alone with any woman other than his wife, and that he keeps his spouse by his side at events where alcohol is being served and “people are being loose.” It’s an odd, offensive — and telling! — suggestion for a few reasons, which we should get into right now.
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) October 11, 2017
Pence’s rules for limiting his interactions with women are somehow supposed to be read as a good Christian man’s way of avoiding sexual temptation, but they instead serve to hold up the absurd, sexist idea that women are not so much human beings as they are tantalizing sex objects against whose wiles men are defenseless. Gorka — and of course, Pence — is suggesting that sexual harassment is inevitable because men are slaves to their loins, just barely keeping their reflexive need to commit wanton sexual harassment under wraps through the imposition of safe distance. Putting a man and woman near each other — at, say, a dinner table — is basically guaranteed to turn men into grabbing, groping, sex crime committing man-beasts who can only behave in inappropriate and even sexually violent and abusive ways. Fidelity can only be assured if other women, however essential their skills and ideas might help this failing White House, are expressed in crowded rooms with high lighting. Never mind what the woman wants.
This kind of thinking says far more about the outmoded, hypersexist mindsets of Gorka and Pence than it does about real-life heterosexual dynamics. It must be reassuring to be a woman in their presence knowing they think sexual harassment is inevitable should a dinner meeting or work party happen. It’s not an accident that these men work for Trump, a misogynist who bragged that when sees an attractive woman he’s “like a magnet” — note the implication of helplessness against an overwhelming compulsion — who “just kiss[es]” women, and who won’t “even wait” for consent. He also famously declared that he likes to grab women by the pussy. And, of course, Trump once also suggested that rape and sexual assault are the natural outcome of having men and women serve together in the armed forces.
“26,000 unreported sexual assults (sic) in the military-only 238 convictions,” Trump wrote. “What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”
Along with their astounding racism, this White House’s misogyny and woman-hating is beyond the pale. Weinstein has been fired from his company and for the moment, at least, declared the scourge of Hollywood. (We’ll see how long that lasts.) If he were a Republican, he could’ve parlayed this scandal into a 2020 presidential run.
Gorka’s appointment as a deputy assistant to Trump was controversial because of his reported ties to Vitézi Rend, an anti-Semitic group based in Hungary. Though Gorka denied belonging to the group, the organization maintained that he is a member. Even as he claimed not to be tied to the order, Gorka sported the group’s medal in several television appearances, eliciting public praise for its higher-ups. A group of 55 Democrats in Congress signed an open letter to Trump opposing Gorka’s appointment “based on . . . recent revelations about [his] public support for and membership in several anti-Semitic and racist groups in Hungary."