It looks like GOP presidential nominee and Cheetos-dusted fury-duffel Donald Trump is fully moving his campaign’s footing to one of total war with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). But for the moment, there remain some stray surrogates who, like Lubang Island holdouts, are still fighting the last war over the recently released “Trump tapes,” which feature a joyful Trump enthusing about sexual assault.
The most current defense of Trump’s lewd remarks has gone somewhere that, in retrospect, seems inevitable. Take it away, New York Times television critic James Poniewozik!
Oh, hey, did you forget about rap music, everybody? Obviously, you did, if you’re going to shout about Trump’s remarks. Luckily, Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson is here to remind you that rap lyrics exist, and are frequently R-rated.
In a similar argument made by Trump ally Betsy McCaughey, Hillary Clinton must denounce Beyoncé and her lyrics, because ... she just should? Someone has to? (Obviously, it’s not clear how you draw a line between Clinton’s campaign and Bey’s existence. It’s equally unclear if we’re still supposed to suggest that a guy who wants to have the nuclear codes at his disposal should be held to higher standards of restraint and politesse than an entertainer. But this is where we are.)
But OK, let’s concede a point or two. Obviously, a lot of popular music contains graphic sexual imagery. Certainly, the entertainment industry has done its fair share of glamorizing misogyny and rape culture. But here, Trump surrogates have momentarily forgotten that they are supposed to be defending Trump’s remarks as “locker room talk” ― that is to say, approvable speech. Just frank stuff between men who shoot straight and disdain the censors, man! And the whole point of the Trump campaign is that the maximization of political incorrectness is vital to the life of this republic.
Pierson’s argument might work if she were saying something like, “It’s hypocritical to condemn Donald Trump for saying these things because we have all this great music that is equally risqué, telling it like it is, saying the things that everyone is thinking.” The problem is, she’s showing her contempt for the same sort of language in the context of rap lyrics, when what she wants to be doing ― to make her argument work ― is appear to be complimentary of it. Defending Trump on his comments, after all, requires you to frame his comments not as something that’s despicable, but as evidence of manly virtue.
Maybe this worldview only accommodates manly virtues when they are white manly virtues?
OK, well, I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed.
At any rate, here’s the millionth iteration of a lesson you should have learned by now: The people who most flamboyantly lionize the righteousness of being politically incorrect and maximally blasphemous always eventually reveal themselves to be the most uptight scolds.
Jason Linkins edits “Eat The Press” for The Huffington Post and co-hosts the HuffPost Politics podcast “So, That Happened.” Subscribe here, and listen to the latest episode below.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.