Last night in Montana, President Trump, who has been accused by at least 16 women of sexually inappropriate behavior (including the allegation in his first wife’s 1990 divorce deposition that he violently raped her in a fit of anger over a botched scalp surgery), made a joke about the movement created more than 10 years ago as a signal of mutual support and solidarity between survivors of sexual abuse and assault. It was, of course, a joke at a woman’s expense. In his speech, he suggested that he would like to test Sen. Elizabeth Warren for Native American heritage, “but we have to do it gently because we’re in the #MeToo generation.” (For her part, Warren tweeted: “Hey, @realDonaldTrump: While you obsess over my genes, your admin is conducting DNA tests on little kids because you ripped them from their mamas and you are too incompetent to reunite them in time to meet a court order. Maybe you should focus on fixing the lives you’re destroying.”)
Trump suggests he would like to test Elizabeth Warren for Native American heritage, "but we have to do it gently because we're in the MeToo generation." pic.twitter.com/kgQ54Lxqbo
— Axios (@axios) July 6, 2018
Whether the president meant to imply that a DNA test would be like a rape kit, as some have attested, or that the #MeToo movement is made up of a bunch of coddled whiners isn’t exactly clear. Trump’s speeches, and his speech patterns, for that matter, rarely are. It’s his actions that matter: Earlier in the day it was announced that Bill Shine, an executive ousted from Fox News over his involvement in that network’s handling of multiple harassment scandals, would be taking a position on the administration’s communications team.
Aboard Air Force One on Thursday, CNN reported that the president “also defended Republican Rep. Jim Jordan against allegations he overlooked sexual abuse during his time as a wrestling coach at Ohio State University. . . . ‘I don’t believe them at all. I believe him,’ Trump said.” He has repeatedly denied the allegations of sexual and domestic abuse against him and his former staffers as “fake news.”
And really, are we surprised? Throughout his career he has described women as pigs, called age 35 “checkout time,” objectified his own daughter, made sexist remarks about female reporters, and, oh, yeah, bragged about his history of sexual misconduct. Last night in Montana is just the latest important reminder for the women in this country—like the 53 percent of white women who voted for Trump in 2016—that he does not have quite the same confidence in them.