Column: Republicans decide sex harassment is very, very bad
Wow, isn’t it amazing how the GOP and Donald Trump Jr. are suddenly rocking the sexual harassment issue, now that deposed Hollywood mogul and liberal donor Harvey Weinstein has been outed as a serial pig? We never knew they cared so much.
I never knew that Donnie Junior was such a feminist. Yet there he is, on Twitter, wringing his hands about Weinstein’s “3 decades of rampant sexual harassment;” he’s so upset about Hurricane Harvey’s treatment of women that he can’t even spell the word right. He’s demanding that Hollywood liberals speak out against Weinstein (indeed, more of them should), and that Democrats could give up their dirty Weinstein money (many are already doing it). And he’s getting assists from the Republican party chairwoman, who’s tweeting sympathy for Weinstein’s victims and demanding that we “stand up for women.”
I’m frankly surprised by Junior’s sudden feminist leanings, because, if memory serves, this is the same guy who said in a 2013 interview that a workplace is often “a guy’s place,” and it’s too bad for the gals if that’s the case. In his words, “If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, you don’t belong in the workforce. You should go maybe teach kindergarten.”
Which reminds me: Isn’t this also the same guy who said last October that “I’ve never heard anything dumber in my life” — referencing the multiple allegations of sexual harassment lodged against his own father? By more than 10 women who publicly came forward and were willing to be named?
Must’ve slipped Junior’s mind! Because, as I seem to recall, the Republican presidential nominee got peppered with highly specific allegations after the release of an “Access Hollywood” tape in which he bragged about groping female genitalia against the owners’ wishes, about trying to seduce a woman against her will, and about how he liked to pop Tic Tacs into his mouth before he “just starts kissing” regardless of whether the ladies wanted to.
As I also seem to recall, Junior’s dismissive reaction in October 2016 was matched by the GOP’s thunderous silence, which was apparently motivated by the belief that the issue of sexual harassment was far less important than the tribal urge to elevate a manifestly ignorant incompetent to the world’s most important office.
But since Junior and the GOP suddenly care so much about women who’ve been victimized by predatory men — and isn’t it fascinating how they’ve suddenly embraced The New York Times, which broke the Weinstein story? — I propose that we forge a bipartisan agreement:
Since lots of Democrats have rightly condemned Weinstein and begun to move his donations to worthy causes, Republicans should reciprocate by condemning the predatory POTUS (it’s never too late) and refusing to accept donations from pro-Trump Super PACs.
And since Weinstein’s production company has already seen fit to kick him out of office, Republicans should reciprocate by taking the first steps to remove their predator from his office. Especially in light of the fact that his predatory behavior is one of the least of his offenses. And since everyone agrees that Weinstein — long known for his unhinged temperament — can’t be trusted any longer to wield any kind of power over women or men, Republicans (besides Sen. Bob Corker) need to publicly acknowledge that Trump — long known for his unhinged temperament — can’t be trusted any longer to wield any kind of power over women or men, much less to command the nuclear launch codes.
And instead of the Republican National Committee tweeting, “Do you love waking up and remembering that Donald Trump is president?” perhaps the RNC would agree to tweet that it’s important to stand up for all women who’ve been sexually harassed by all sexual predators, regardless of their political leanings.
How’s that for a deal?
Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia (newsworks.org/polman) and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Pennsylvania. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.