On Monday, the New York Times‘ Charles Blow decided to set a new record in liberal media Trump-bashing. Blow thought it wasn’t enough to call the Republican nominee a “terrorist,” he had to add “toddler” in there, too.
You don’t have to wear a “Make America Great Again” hat to find this both ridiculous and offensive. Donald Trump may not be a good role model, but a “terroristic man-toddler”? Blow has too much time on his hands:
Donald Trump is a domestic terrorist; only his form of terror doesn’t boil down to blowing things up. He’s the 70-year-old toddler who knows nearly nothing, hurls insults, has simplistic solutions for complex problems and is quick to throw a tantrum. Also, in case you didn’t know it, this toddler is mean to girls and is a bit of a bigot.
Yes, the Republican nominee can’t exactly take an insult. As Blow argues, “when he loses at something, anything, he lashes out.” Yes, he makes statements off-the-cuff and does not present a clear ideology. Yes, he does indeed treat people unfairly — his attacks on Megyn Kelly, Senator John McCain, and Ted Cruz’s family are evidence of that.
But just because Trump has a short fuse doesn’t make him a toddler, and just because he insults people doesn’t make him a terrorist. Blow goes on to describe Trump’s foibles since the last debate, and many of the New York Times author’s points are correct, but every argument is tainted by the kind of smugness embedded in his inane headline hyperbole.
That hyperbole did not cease with “terror” and “toddler.” Blow described Trump as going “full anti-science” for “insisting that flimflam applause-o-meter polls, many from conservative websites, were in fact proof positive he had won the debate.” What do you expect Trump to do? Concede defeat? Did President Obama concede defeat after the first debate in 2012?
Also, this is Donald Trump we’re talking about. He loves to cite polls where he won, and he routinely ignores those where he lost. That’s his style, one might even say his strategy — and it’s not news. Yes, the more scientific polls put Clinton ahead, but Trump has an image to keep up, and even those polls found significant numbers of people who said he won the debate.
Blow also hits Trump over his “sexist, bigoted comments about a Miss Universe, Alicia Machado.” The Republican nominee indeed has a flare for the dramatic — and he famously doesn’t mind insulting people. But as Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance noted, the Miss Universe pageant is about a contestant’s physical beauty, and when a winner puts on weight, that is a legitimate concern for her position as Miss Universe.
Reportedly, the company wanted to replace Machado, but Trump encouraged them to give her time, and encouraged her to lose weight. Machado later claimed that he called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” — demeaning comments not outside of Trump’s character — but at the end of the day it is her word against his.
Blow slammed Trump for spending the week “sulking and careening from fat-shaming Machado to slut-shaming her, shooting off a manic insomniac’s witching-hour tweet storm.” The tweet storm was indeed disturbing, and the Republican nominee told his followers to “check out” an alleged “sex tape” (which led to Machado’s then-fiancé dumping her).
The New York Times author is correct in chiding Trump’s own lewd history with women (from “if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps, I would be dating her” to ogling over a 12-year-old Paris Hilton), but this isn’t exactly news, either. Hillary Clinton did indeed hail Machado as a role model, and Trump’s tweets shot down that idea. Just because he has a sordid history of his own does not make the former Miss Universe a model citizen.
Next Page: Blow goes soft on the Clintons — Hillary’s heart was “broken” by what the former first lady called “bimbo eruptions.”
Perhaps the most egregious part of Blow’s essay was the conclusion, however. This pundit mentioned Trump campaign talking points encouraging supporters to bring up Bill Clinton’s sexual scandals in the context of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. “I think Trump is falling into a trap here,” Blow mockingly advised.
I think in his anger and haste he is severely underestimating the empathy people have for a betrayed spouse, who might, in misdirected anger, blame the victim, believe the unbelievable, and grant unearned forgiveness. Love makes people do crazy things, and a broken heart isn’t a physical wound but a psychic, spiritual one. It hurts like hell and people often respond in ways that are less than honorable, but ultimately understandable.
Wait, does Charles Blow really believe that Hillary’s comments about “bimbo eruptions,” her efforts to silence the women who slept with (or were allegedly abused by) her husband, and the methodical manner in which she acted to stifle these episodes were out of “a broken heart” and “misdirected anger”?
It is very likely Hillary was indeed hurt the first time her husband cheated on her, and I do not wish to make light of such marital infidelity, but well before the time of Monica Lewinsky it seemed like Hillary had these “bimbo eruptions” down to a science. It is not unreasonable to conclude, as many have, that the former first lady adopted a wounded demeanor for the sake of appearances, but knew about her husband’s philandering all along.
Clinton did not lash out “in misdirected anger” against the “bimbo eruptions.” She did not “blame the victim.” She was rather trying to keep the incidents hushed up, because she knew these incidents would damage her and her husband politically.
Many people will feel empathy for Hillary, to be sure, but anyone who knows the great lengths the former first lady took to keep these women silent also knows to laugh when she declares that “every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed, and supported.”
But Blow himself is severely underestimating another form of empathy, however. He overlooks the empathy people have for an unfairly treated candidate, who, despite his many flaws and indiscretions, does not deserve to be called a “toddler” or a “terrorist.” Indeed, many Americans have come to see liberal elites like this very New York Times columnist as the real bully.
When he calls Trump “a puerile, sophomoric sniveler who is too easily baited and grossly ill-behaved,” Americans themselves might see a sniveling bully so sure of himself as to call the nominee of a major party a “terrorist” and a “toddler.” Such smug punditry is indeed one of the causes behind Trump’s success, and Charles Blow is feeding the anger, one obnoxious column at a time.