WASHINGTON ― A familiar thing happened Thursday morning: President Donald Trump made a stunningly sexist comment about a woman, and the same few Republicans stepped up again to express their disappointment.
Trump spewed insults at “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski on Twitter, calling her “crazy” and dumb and mocking her face ― all insults he has lobbed at women before.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) offered an anemic rebuke.
“I don’t view that as an appropriate comment,” he told reporters at a press conference.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who regularly denounces Trump, took the opportunity to do it again.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who Time Magazine recently dubbed “the anti-Trump,” asked the president to “please just stop.”
Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) implored Trump to behave with “respect and civility,” and Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) said the president’s tweets are “not okay.”
This is the same song and dance that happens every time Trump says a terrible thing about women. During his campaign, when the infamous tape emerged of him bragging in 2005 that he could “grab [women] by the pussy” because he’s famous, dozens of Republicans released statements expressing their concern. Ryan said he hoped Trump could “demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests.”
Trump was elected anyway. He has in no way demonstrated to the country that he has greater respect for women than the clip suggested, but Congress continues to cooperate with and enable him. Even Trump’s elder daughter, Ivanka, who calls herself a feminist and reportedly ran out of the room crying when she heard the “pussy” tape, later turned around and defended her father’s treatment of women.
Democrats, meanwhile, are frustrated that Trump never seems to experience any consequences for the things he says. He makes so many offensive remarks that they’re becoming normalized.
“Trump has a long pattern of making demeaning, sexist and discriminatory comments about the women who take him on,” Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said in an email. “The fact that they happen frequently doesn’t make them okay.”
If any other president in U.S. history publicly mocked a female reporter’s “bleeding” face, it would cause shock waves in media and politics. But Trump’s latest tweet will fade out of the news by next week. Republicans are going to get back to work on passing his legislative agenda, and the tepid Twitter condemnations will die down until next time.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated Jenkins’ title. She is a representative, not a senator.