In yet another blatant display of sexism and misogyny, President Donald Trump tried to avoid tough questions from women reporters in the Rose Garden by applying his signature strategy: insult.
He called on Cecilia Vega, a White House reporter for ABC News, and baselessly insinuated she was "shocked" that he had tapped her.
"She's shocked that I picked her," said Trump as his cronies — unsurprisingly including mostly men — smiled or laughed. "She's, like, in a state of shock," he added.
"I'm not," Vega said, rather resolutely, as she rose from her seat. "Thank you, Mr. President."
Trump, apparently, misheard "thank you" as "thinking," and without confirming what Vega had said, he, entirely unprovoked, took it up as an opportunity to mock her.
"I know you're not thinking. You never do," he said.
"I'm sorry?" Vega answered.
"No, go ahead." Trump said, before an awkward pause. "Go ahead."
[FYI: A White House transcript alleges Trump said “not thanking,” but that does not make any sense with respect to context, given Vega had said “thank you” immediately prior.]
When Vega went ahead and asked a question on the on the scope of the FBI investigation into the president’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Trump stopped her. He said her question was irrelevant to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which had prompted the press conference.
"What does that have to do with trade?" Trump said. "I don’t mind answering the question. But, you know, I’d like to do the trade questions, too."
When he was done answering "trade questions," CNN's Kaitlan Collins tried to ask another question about Kavanaugh, however, Trump rudely interrupted her as well, telling her, "Don't do that!"
He reportedly cut off yet another journalist as she asked him about mass shootings.
All in all, Trump's conduct with women reporters was utterly disrespectful.
The result: He managed to avoid answering difficult questions.
But is that really surprising?
Since the beginning of 2017, the Trump administration has set an unprecedented record of treating journalism with blatant disregard and disdain.
However, there's a record within that record.
Of the many -- many -- journalists Trump has berated, before and, during his presidency, so far, women reporters have been a prime target.
The answer to this important question is quite apparent in the difference between Trump's public conduct with:
a) the women of his family and the ones working in his cabinet,
b) and the women who are not a part of his family or work in his cabinet.
In a nutshell, Trump deals differently with the women over whom he can exert some amount of influence and the women over he can't.
And, usually, the women he can't exert any influence over are the ones who are targeted with mockery, disrespect, and in extreme cases, abuse.
But Trump's display of mockery and disrespect towards women reporters, especially has gotten even worse since September, when multiple women, including Christine Blasey Ford, came forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Kavanaugh.
Days before Trump demeaned the aforementioned reporters at Rose Garden, he had treated women journalists at the United Nations in a similar manner.
During the contentious presser in New York City on Sept. 26, which came a day before the Kavanaugh-Ford hearings, Trump did not call on a single woman to ask him any question until CNN’s Jim Acosta pointedly requested him to do so.
“If you don’t mind, after I’m finished, if [CBS’s] Weijia [Jiang], or [NBC’s] Hallie [Jackson], or [the Wall Street Journal‘s] Vivian [Salama], or one of our female colleagues could go after me, that would be great,” Acosta said.
“What does he mean by that?” Trump retorted. “Explain. What does that mean?”
“I think it would be great if a female reporter were to ask you a question about this issue,” Acosta continued — referring to the latest sexual misconduct allegation against Kavanaugh.
“I wouldn’t mind that at all,” Trump said. “Wouldn’t make any difference to me.”
However, as it turned out, it indeed made a difference to the president.
After Acosta, he called on NBC's Hallie Jackson who asked if he thought Kavanaugh's accusers were liars.
In response, Trump made his signature move and proceeded to cut Jackson off, talk over her, and went as far as pretending to poll the room on whether she should be "allowed" to ask more questions.
Following Jackson, he tapped CBS News' Weijia Jiang, who, again, asked him about women who had accused powerful men of sexual assault, including himself.
Trump interrupted Jiang as well and when she pointed that fact out, he told her to sit down.
"You've been asking a question for 10 minutes. Please sit down," he said.
The result: Again, he managed to avoid answering difficult questions.
These might be recent instances of Trump's acrimonious relationship with women he can't control, but even before becoming president, he had been disrespectful of women. A few examples from that time include when:
He tweeted his Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, couldn't "satisfy her own husband."
He said then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly had "blood coming out of her wherever."
He once called Arianna Huffington "unattractive."
He said actor Rosie O'Donnell had a "fat, ugly face."
He infamously bragged on tape about grabbing women by the "p***y."
He said of his once- Republican presidential rival, Carly Fiorina, "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!"
For as long as his former aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, remained associated with him, Trump did not say anything ill of her. However, as soon as she was fired and revealed she has several secret tapes of him, he called her a "dog" and a "lowlife."
Trump has claimed, several times, over the past couple of years that he respects women. But his actions prove he clearly does not — especially the ones who challenge him in any way.
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