Donald Trump's Cabinet Is Already Dogged By Assault Allegations
On Thursday, Donald Trump appointed fast food tycoon Andy Puzder to serve as his labor secretary. Given that Puzder’s ex-wife has accused him of physically abusing her — allegations that were dropped, and that Puzder denies — it’s not a surprise that Trump wants to work alongside him. In any organization, the nature of the rank-and-file tends to reflect the character of the person at the top; Trump, I'd argue, is a creep, so it stands to reason that he would surround himself with fellow creeps. Indeed, Puzder is the third Trump ally to be accused of assaulting women.
Before Puzder, it was Steve Bannon, the former CEO of Breitbart and and now Trump’s top adviser. In addition to running headlines like “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive And Crazy,” Bannon was charged with domestic assault for allegedly grabbing his wife by the hair and dragging her into a car. The charges were later dropped, but an officer reported at the time that Bannon’s wife had “red marks on [her] left wrist and the right side of her neck.”
Before Bannon, it was Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who was mysteriously spotted leaving Trump’s plane long after he allegedly left the campaign. Lewandowski was accused of grabbing journalist Michelle Fields by the arm at a press conference in March; he denied the allegation, but it was caught on video, and he was charged with battery. Lewandowski is also accused of making “sexually suggestive and at times vulgar comments to ― and about ― female journalists who have covered Trump’s presidential bid,” according to a March report in Politico.
As for Puzder, his ex-wife alleged that he assaulted her on three occasions. In one instance, she claimed that Puzder “attacked me, choked me, threw me to the floor, hit me in the head, pushed his knee into my chest, twisted my arm and dragged me on the floor, threw me against a wall, tried to stop my call to 911 and kicked me in the back.” Puzder admitted in a deposition that he “grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her back,” though he denied any abuse. His ex-wife later withdrew the allegations.
As CEO of a restaurant conglomerate, Puzder has overseen advertisements that, if not outwardly misogynistic, are certainly objectifying towards women. When confronted about this, he said that if activists don’t complain about his commercials, “I go to the head of marketing and say, ‘What’s wrong with our ads?’”
“I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American," Puzder told Entrepreneur. "I used to hear, brands take on the personality of the CEO. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality."
Puzder is right about brands taking on the personality of the CEO. The same thing, apparently, can be said about an incoming administration taking on the personality of the president-elect.
Though Puzder, Bannon, and Lewandowski all deny their assault allegations, all three of them are creepy dudes who casually say gross things about women. And no wonder — that’s a description that applies just as well to Trump himself.
Trump, of course, has been accused of sexual assault by more than 10 women; he denies all of the allegations, although he did confess in 2005 that he could grab women “by the p-ssy” without their consent, because he’s “a star.” Moreover, he’s flagrantly misogynistic, and in his decades in public life, has said too many awful things about women to keep track of (“It doesn’t really matter what [reporters] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass” is but one of many examples).
Pending Senate confirmation, Trump gets to hire whomever he wants to work alongside him, and in several cases, he’s decided to hire people who take an objectifying and casually misogynistic view towards women. And so does Trump. The fish rots from the head down.