Megyn Kelly's Interview With Newt Gingrich Shows That Sexism Is A Nonpartisan Issue
This election has been concerning to many women for a variety of reasons. First of all, as human beings, it's been distressing to see Donald Trump's campaign legitimize alt-right xenophobia, Islamophobia, and conspiracy theories on the national political stage; secondly, because his campaign has consistently denigrated women at almost every chance it got. The latest fervent and disheartening display of sexism from within the Trump campaign occurred on live television Tuesday night, and proved to the world one thing that many women already understand: sexism is a nonpartisan issue. During an interview on The Kelly File, Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich was aggressively sexist toward Megyn Kelly, despite the fact that they are relatively on the same political side.
The segment between Gingrich and Kelly started off well enough, but rapidly devolved the second Kelly brought up the current allegations of sexual assault against Trump. "If Trump is a sexual predator..." was all Kelly managed to say before Gingrich started yelling and finger pointing, claiming that Kelly was advocating in favor of that designation for Trump. "When you used the words, you took a position, and I think it's very unfair of you to do that, Megyn," Gingrich said, arguing that Kelly was biased against Trump.
Gingrich continued to suggest that Kelly was biased because she had allegedly covered more of the Trump scandal than recent news about Hillary Clinton, then attacked her in an incredibly sexist manner. "You are fascinated with sex, and you don't care about public policy," said Gingrich.
Gingrich's suggestion that Kelly covering the allegations against Trump was due to a fascination with sex is one of the most contorted and sexist claims made in this whole campaign season, which is really saying something. Realistically, you can't imagine Gingrich saying this to a man, much less with the tone and body language that he used. The assertion that Kelly is allowing some kind of perversion to change the way she interprets her politics is absurd and offensive, and it's especially troubling because Gingrich and Kelly are ostensibly supposed to be on the same side.
Granted, Trump's campaign and its bizarre power to attract previously reputable politicians has, in essence, created a third major political party. Trump doesn't stand for many of the things that the Republican establishment stands for, and Kelly, as a journalist on a conservative network, is naturally going to push back against the normative attitude the Trump campaign has taken on his issues and scandals. In fact, it's in the public good that she do so, in order to attempt to define Trump and his candidacy since he hasn't really done that himself. It's also her job to be an investigator and ask tough questions, to which there is a reasonable limit of uncooperativeness expected from those being questioned.
While there's a massive ideological rift growing within the GOP, Gingrich should still have been civil to Kelly — certainly as a person with inherent dignity. The fact that he immediately jumped to coded rhetoric, insinuations of disloyalty, and domineering body language clearly signals a sexist response, one that disrespected Kelly's position of power and further proved the point Kelly was really trying to make.
Sexism is often the first reaction by men to discredit women, but it's unusual to see it happen between a man and a woman who generally share a political platform. The jump to a sexist response when Kelly didn't agree with one thing that Gingrich said was especially concerning because it shows that sexism does stop at the party lines. The political space needs to be safe for all women, and this clip shows that is still not the reality.