To say that Donald Trump holds different standards for men than he does for women is to understate it. For example, men are more likely by him to be presumed innocent, while women are more likely by him to be presumed guilty.
I mean guilty even as in guilty of criminal activity. During the presidential campaign, Trump’s opponents for the nomination, mostly men such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, were repeatedly derided for their flaccidity. (Though Carly Fiorina, his sole female opponent, was mocked for her appearance. “Look at that face!” Trump exclaimed. “Would anyone vote for that?!”) But his opponent for the election, Hillary Clinton, was accused of being a crook, a criminal, a felon. Numberless times Trump egged on his supporters, urging them to chant, to shout at the top of their lungs, “Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up!”
This distinction came to mind again recently when, in the space of just a couple of days, Trump held out one standard for women and another for men. Citing no evidence whatsoever, Trump claimed that Susan Rice, national security adviser to President Obama, could have committed a crime by uncovering the identities of Trump associates who had been swept up in the surveillance of foreign officials. When he was asked about his evidence for making such a charge, Trump replied that he would reveal his sources “at the right time.” This was 12 days ago – when this time would come was never made clear.
During the same week, Trump gave his crony, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, a complete pass, even after we learned that he had been accused over the years by different women in Fox’s employ of sexual harassment. Though public outrage was swift, and though dozens of advertisers almost immediately withdrew their support, Trump did not. Trump chose to speak loudly and clearly in O’Reilly’s defense. Trump said he was a “good person,” and then added “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
No surprise, I suppose, that someone with Trump’s record of objectifying women failed to find O’Reilly’s behavior objectionable. This is the same man who told MSNBC that for women who have an abortion, “there has to be some form of punishment.”