Donald Trump has combined two of his favorite past times — media feuds and casual sexism — into an insulting tweet aimed at Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin. Both Trump and fellow GOP candidate Marco Rubio spoke at the Republican Jewish Coalition on Thursday, and Rubin had nicer things to say about Rubio’s speech than Trump’s. This led Trump to suggest, absurdly, that Rubin is “in love with Marco Rubio.” But this isn’t surprising: When women criticize Trump, he responds with sexism. That's his thing.
Rubin wrote that, when Rubio spoke to the RJC, he gave a “detailed, meaty address that reflected an appreciation for the sophistication of the group he was addressing.” Trump, on the other hand, was “cringe-worthy,” and demonstrated that “when [he’s] forced to articulate positions on issues or speak intelligently before an informed crowd he is at a loss.” Ouch. Rubin took particular issue with Trump’s criticisms of Israel — which were not well-received by the group of Jewish Republicans — and his pseudo-racist comment that “you folks” in the audience all “negotiate deals” (because they’re Jews, see). Ugh.
Trump sent this tweet in response.
Of course, Trump wouldn’t have said this if Rubin happened to be a male reporter (The record shows this — he’s insulted plenty of male reporters without referencing their romantic desires). But if a female journalist prefers Rubio to him, that can only possibly stem from romantic attraction, right?
This is Trump’s modus operandi: When he feels attacked by someone — a fellow politician, a journalist, or whomever — he responds not by addressing the substance of the criticism, but by personally insulting the figure in question — and if that person happens to be a woman, you can bet he’ll spice up his insult with a dash of sexism and misogyny.
This has been evident for years: Back in 1992, when journalist Gail Collins referred to Trump as a "financially-embattled thousandaire," Trump took the article, circled Collins face, scrawled the "The Face of a Dog!" next to it, and sent it back to her, Collins says. A more recent example of this trend is Trump's feud with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. After Kelly called out Trump at the first GOP presidential debate for sexist things he’d said in the past, Trump insinuated that Kelly was going after him because she was on her period. (He later denied that this was his implication.) Later, he retweeted somebody who called Kelly a “bimbo.”
Not long thereafter, Trump took aim at Republican rival Carly Fiorina — or, to be more precise, he took aim at her physical appearance. “Look at that face,” Trump said. “Would anyone vote for that?” Needless to say, Trump has never insulted, say, Chris Christie’s face. When Trump and Fiorina took the stage together at a debate in November, Trump criticized her for interrupting the other candidates, a remark that relied on old, sexist assumptions about women and how they ought to conduct themselves while in the company of men.
In all of these occasions, Trump could have at least attempted to find a substantive criticism of his opponents. Instead, he relied on sexist insults. Sadly, for the Republican presidential front-runner, this is par for the course.