Republican elected officials took to Twitter Thursday to rail against President Donald Trump’s attack on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski. While many of those who responded were women, some male leaders also spoke out against the “inappropriate” comments they felt were “beneath” the office of the presidency. The problem, however, is that Trump’s attacks on women aren’t unique to Trump, they’re indicative of a party that frequently regards women as less.
In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) explained that most Republicans “don’t talk like that.” Unfortunately, she is wrong and ill-informed.
Here are some of the worst offenders in the Republican Party that prove Trump is merely toeing his party’s line.
1. The “rape is no big deal” Republicans:
When Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin suggested that women can’t get pregnant if they’re raped, it quickly destroyed any shot he had at winning his election.
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said. But Republicans have been saying similar things long before and since Akin’s political career was crushed.
Former Olympic miler turned Congressman, Jim Ryun, was so anti-choice he said that women should be forced to carry the fetus after being raped because it would “help her heal.”
In 1995, Rep. Henry Aldridge (R-NC) implied to the House Appropriations Committee that women can’t get pregnant from “real rape.”
“The facts show that people who are raped — who are truly raped — the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever,” he explained.
Rep. Jody Laubenberg (R-TX) also seemed a little confused about basic biology. he asked “Who needs abortion when victims of sexual assault can just get ‘cleaned out’ by a rape kit?”
U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock thinks that god wants people to get raped and get pregnant, so women should accept it.
“Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that . . . is something that God intended to happen,” he said in 2012.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), who now is a paid pundit on CNN said that rape victims should just “accept what God has given to you” and “make the best of a bad situation” when they’re raped.
Speaker Paul Ryan agreed, noting, “the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.”
2. John Kasich
The Ohio governor is seen by many Republicans to be a bastion of moderation and sense in a party lead by the floundering abnormality that is the president. Yet, even Kasich has had his fair share of run-ins with sexism.
During a forum at George Mason University, Kasich told the audience that the reason he won his 1978 election because women “left their kitchens” to support his campaign. Kasich’s own supporters even cringed.
“First off, I want to say, your comment earlier about the women came out the kitchen to support you?” asked one supporter. “I’ll come to support you, but I won’t be coming out of the kitchen.”
That wasn’t an isolated incident, however. During an event at the University of Richmond, a young woman stood up to ask a question and got a subtly sexist joke in return.
“I’m sorry, I don’t have any Taylor Swift concert tickets,” he said.
While it isn’t the worst thing a Republican has said to a voter, it’s evidence he didn’t take her or her concerns seriously.
“I didn’t go to a town hall forum for Taylor Swift tickets, Gov. Kasich,” 18-year-old Kayla Solsbak wrote after the event. “I went because it’s my civic duty to be an informed voter. Please start treating me like one.”
3. Ted Cruz and Chris Chris Christie
It’s easy to be dismissive of any attacks on former Secretary Hillary Clinton because she put herself out there to be a candidate for president. Any candidate can expect a certain amount of backlash, but rather than attacking politics and policies, both Cruz and Christie used violent and sexist language to belittle and diminish a person who is arguably more accomplished than they are.
“In my house, if my daughter, Catherine, the 5-year-old, says something that she knows to be false, she gets a spanking,” Cruz said, referring to his belief Clinton lied about Benghazi and insinuating he would violently punish her. “Well, in America, the voters have a way of administering a spanking.”
Christie had a similar fantasy.
“I’ll beat her rear end on that stage and afterward she’ll be relieved that I didn’t serve her with a subpoena,” he said.
4. Marco Rubio
The Florida senator is one of many Republicans who only see women as a vessel to bare their offspring. When asked about mothers of the unborn children he speaks about saving, Rubio said simply, “The what?”
5. Attacking Michelle Obama’s appearance
As a strong, intelligent and confident woman, the former First Lady was attacked both as a woman and as a black woman. Alex Jones, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and friend of President Trump, alleged that the former First Lady was actually a man and that she personally killed Joan Rivers to cover up the fact.
Carl Paladino, Trump’s New York co-chair said that Michelle Obama is a man who should live in Africa with other gorillas.
The right had an outright meltdown when she came into office wearing sleeveless dresses. The same has not been said of Melania or Ivanka Trump, who have also done the same.
Fox News’ Juan Williams specifically has attacked Obama’s patriotism, “her instinct is to start with this ‘blame America’ … stuff,” he said.
Rush Limbaugh did the same, saying during an Oct. 2009 episode that Michelle Obama “is not proud of her country unless she’s getting what she wants from it.”
This went on for eight years.
6. Attacking the appearance of any liberal woman.
Michelle Obama isn’t the only progressive woman to be attacked. During the Women’s March on Washington, an anti-march meme circulated reading “In one day, Trump got more fat women out walking than Michelle Obama did in eight years.”
The Cohoes City GOP in New York shared it and later apologized after the backlash. North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey also was forced to apologize when he shared it. He admitted it “represented a momentary lapse in judgment.”
Republican Indiana state Sen. Jack Sandlin posted it too, but took another approach instead of accepting responsibility for his actions. He claimed he had no part in putting it on his page.
“It’s unclear to me how this ended up on my page, but I have removed it,” he said. “This message in no way represents my views toward women and I sincerely apologize to anyone who may have seen it.”
The meme appeared to be immaculately conceived.
Other than the meme, Nebraska Republican state Sen. Bill Kintner ought to consider leaving politics entirely. As a senator, he was caught having cybersex with a woman on his state computer, but that isn’t the worst. He alleged that the women marching on Washington, and elsewhere, weren’t attractive enough to be sexually assaulted.
“Ladies, I think you’re safe,” he said of the woman holding up signs attacking Trump for saying he could grab women by their genitals.
7. Attacks on Wendy Davis:
Another self-assured woman stood up to male counterparts in the Texas legislature and was summarily attacked ruthlessly.
Texas Rep. Bill Zedler called Davis’ filibuster an example of a “terrorist [sic] in the Senate,” because a woman standing up for her rights was the same to him as someone flying a set of planes into a building that killed over 3,000 people.
It wasn’t long before they began attacking her for being too attractive. A website emerged called “The Real Wendy Davis,” which alleged “normal professional women do not morph into fake blonde ‘Human Barbie Dolls.'” The site took photos of women Davis graduated with and put their photos up then and compared them with photos of the woman in present day. Then it put up a photo of Davis then and now and accused her of being too attractive that it was somehow dishonest and she shouldn’t be trusted as a result.
8. Threats of violence.
Carlsbad, New Mexico City Councilor J.R. Doporto warned women that they “have a right to be slapped!” for protesting Donald Trump’s policies. He was ultimately forced to delete his Facebook comment and even his account and was fired from his day job.
Female reporters at Raw Story have been known to get threats of rape as well as cyber bullying, as has USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers. During Thursday’s news shows, she told Anderson Cooper and conservative Jeffrey Lord, “I guarantee, Mika Brzezinski is on the receiving end of unspeakable attacks against her personally and her physical appearance all spurred by who? The president of the United States.” Lord merely laughed and smiled at the comment.
These are only two examples of many many more.
At the close of Thursday’s CNN’s discussions about Trump’s comments, Republican strategist Ana Navarro urged other Republicans to speak out against the kind of language Trump uses about women.
“Urge him to apologize, confront him. Get some spine, stop justifying this and finding ways of excusing this,” Navarro said. “I will tell every Republican, tell them one thing, just for one minute imagine if it was Barack Obama who had said that or tweeted that what your reaction would have been today. That should be your same reaction because you need to put country over party. You need to put humanity and decency over party.”
These merely scratch the surfact of the Republicans who have attacked, belittled, diminished or thratened women in the public eye over the years. It remains unclear if Republicans will be willing to denounce it prior to the 2018 elections.