Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Even a blind pig can find an acorn once in a while. And sometimes, even Donald Trump can tell the truth. In a rare moment of self-reflection prompted by a question from Daily Mail editor and former Celebrity Apprentice winner Piers Morgan, Trump revealed if he's a feminist and gave an entirely truthful statement. Unfortunately, this is one instance where it's not exactly a truth that you want to hear.
In an interview that covered topics as varied as climate change, Brexit, and whether or not Trump had received an invite to the upcoming royal wedding, Morgan spent some significant time discussing Trump's controversial relationship with women — and he snuck in a question that the president doesn't often receive.
"Do you identify as a feminist?" Morgan asked Trump. In Morgan's words, the president's immediate reaction to this was that he "looked startled, then half-smiled as if the mere notion was ridiculous." Trump responded:
No, I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist. I mean, I think that would be, maybe, going too far.
And while that is definitely entirely truthful, the rest of the interview fell into the pile of more than 2,000 false or misleading statements he's made during his presidency. After confirming he's not a feminist, he continued:
I’m for women, I’m for men, I’m for everyone. I think people have to go out, they have to go out and really do it, and they have to win. And women are doing great, and I’m happy about that.
It's almost too easy to point out that in the statement following his truth bomb, Trump falls into that oh-so-common pitfall among people who say that they are not feminists: not knowing what "feminism" actually is. Feminism isn't about advancing women's rights above those of men; it's about equality among all genders. Trump's claim that he is "for women ... for men ... for everyone" is actually the definition of a feminist, even if he doesn't claim the label.
However, as many women know, Trump's actions strongly confirm that he's not a feminist — and if he's for women and for everyone, he sure hasn't made much of an effort to show it.
Take, for example, his cabinet. Of 24 Trump cabinet members, five are women. Two are people of color. Zero are open members of the LGBTQ community. Trump repeatedly claimed that he would make up for his lack of political experience by hiring only the best people. If we choose to believe that he attempted to do that, then we also believe that he doesn't think the best people are very often women.
Trump's actions on reproductive rights, then, are another point where we can really see whether or not he's "for women." He basically kicked off his presidency by reinstating the "global gag rule," making it impossible for American aid money to fund any international organization that so much as mentions abortion in their material.
His picks for judges — besides being mostly white men — are universally anti-choice, selected with an almost surgical precision with the aim of chipping away at Roe v. Wade. Full reproductive rights are an essential part of the equality that feminists want — and supporting anything that tries to get rid of them is a sure sign of someone who's definitely not a feminist.
The president has also given us a way to judge what he actually thinks about women in the way that he insults them — or sometimes just the way he measures them up. His tendency, with a few notable exceptions, is to judge women entirely by their appearances.
In Trump's mind, former Republican primary rival Carly Fiorina was disqualified from victory because of the way her face looks, and Megyn Kelly — who he perceived as being tough on him — was "bleeding" from one place or another. On the other hand, he complimented French first lady Brigitte Macron exclusively based on her looks, and he gave an unlucky Irish reporter in the White House the same treatment.
For more proof that Trump was telling the truth about not being a feminist, look at his non-existent response to the #MeToo movement, his failure to actually reckon with the allegations that he has sexually harassed or assaulted almost two dozen women (besides to deny them all flat out), his reported disrespectful behavior toward his wife Melania, or his troubling comments about daughter Ivanka's appearance.
All of this leads to one conclusion — in at least this one case, Trump isn't making something up. He's not exaggerating, and he's not drawing on faulty logic. For once, he thought about a question, and he gave a truthful answer. If only this were a truth that we wanted to hear.
This perspective is reflective of the author’s opinion and is part of a larger, feminist discourse.