President Donald Trump called for TBS to fire Samantha Bee over her use of the phrase “feckless c**t” to describe his daughter and adviser Ivanka, sparking debate over his own famous history of foul language, including the word “pussy.”
But bickering over semantics misses a more urgent moral contradiction: Bee was name-calling. Trump was bragging about sexual assault.
Yes, Bee’s use of the word on her show was juvenile. And as Erin Gloria Ryan noted in The Daily Beast, it distracted from Bee’s larger point ― that Ivanka Trump could be doing a lot more to help keep immigrant kids from being separated from their parents.
But Trump’s remarks, captured while filming an episode of “Access Hollywood” in 2005, weren’t merely a verbal attack. He was bragging about violating not one, but multiple women, arguing his fame made it permissible. And the words weren’t just “locker-room talk” ― more than 20 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.
Trump’s comments are backed by the weight of his actions and the damage he’s inflicted upon women he “moved on” without their consent. Women like Mindy McGillivray, Karena Virginia and Ninni Laaksonen, who all claim Trump has groped them.
Or women like Jessica Drake, Temple Taggart McDowell, Jennifer Murphy, Natasha Stoynoff and Cathy Heller, who all claim Trump kissed them without their consent. Or Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump’s show “The Apprentice” who said Trump not only forcibly kissed her on the mouth, but also thrusted his genitals at her.
Even Ivana Trump, his ex-wife, was allegedly subject to his unwanted advances. She claimed he forced her to have sex with him. (Trump’s lawyer once argued a man can’t legally rape his wife.) Not to mention women who don’t want to be named, or haven’t come forward for fear of retaliation.
Trump’s fame, the very thing he argued allowed his vile behavior, has even caused women he’s never met to experience anxiety, nausea, loss of appetite and panic attacks after his words triggered memories of their own experiences with sexual assault.
Bee’s remarks may have momentarily tarnished Ivanka Trump’s public image, but Donald Trump’s remarks elevated actions that weren’t just inappropriate, but illegal. The pearl-clutching over Bee’s use of a word once called “the most offensive curse word in English” should pale in comparison with the anger over a public figure joking about how he has violated women’s bodies.
But the fallout of each of their comments doesn’t reflect that. Bee lost advertisers, issued an apology and was chastised by the network she works for.
Trump became president of the United States.