Matt Lauer Asking Donald Trump If Has A "Schoolyard Crush" On Megyn Kelly Sent A Seriously Problematic Message

The feud between Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly has gone on for weeks now. Ever since Kelly asked Trump about his previous derogatory remarks about women during the GOP debate on August 6, Trump has continuously lashed out at the Fox News anchor. On Wednesday, Today show host Matt Lauer asked Trump if he had a "schoolyard crush" on Kelly, which Trump adamantly denied, saying, "Trust me, Matt, there is no crush — that I can tell you ... I personally am not a fan. I don't think she does a good job." I'm sure Kelly was glad to hear that Trump doesn't have a thing for her, but the fact that Lauer tried to blame Trump's sexist and offensive comments on "a crush" only perpetuates the idea that it's OK for men to treat women poorly if it's because they "like" them. Let's be clear: It's not.

Trump's first attack on Kelly, immediately after the GOP debate, was speculation that she only asked him about his past sexist behavior because she was on her period. He told CNN, "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her — wherever." Later, he tried to correct himself on Twitter, claiming that "wherever" meant her nose. On Monday, Trump lashed out at the anchor again, tweeting that her show, The Kelly File, was much better when she was away on vacation, and retweeting a comment calling her a "bimbo."

There's no excuse for Trump's repulsive behavior. It's one thing to voice your dislike for someone, but it's an entirely different issue when your comments about them are completely sexist. Saying Kelly asked him a tough question during the debate because she was on her period and calling her a "bimbo" devalues her talent as a journalist and asserts that women can't be taken seriously professionally.

Lauer's attempt to pin Trump's harsh treatment of Kelly on a "schoolyard crush" ignored the underlying issue of misogyny, and implied that liking someone romantically makes it alright to treat them badly. Yes, kids are sometimes mean to other kids they have crushes on, but justifying those actions teaches boys and men that it's acceptable to disrespect girls and women if it's done with good intentions. Having a crush in no way rationalizes degrading women — in fact, nothing rationalizes degrading women.

Even if Trump did have a thing for Kelly, his comments about her would still be just as distasteful. Rather than asking Trump if he had a crush on Kelly, Lauer should have asked him if he would treat a male journalist the same way.