While Donald Trump is taking flack across the board for the failures of his administration to prepare for, and then stem, the rising tide of Americans afflicted coronavirus, his tendency to lash back at his critics seem to ramp up when those who call him out are women, reports the New York Times' Annie Karni.
Writing, "As he confronts a pandemic, President Trump’s attention has also been directed at a more familiar foe: those he feels are challenging him, and particularly women," she notes a pattern of hitting back hardest at women, ranging from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to the CEO of one of the largest companies in the U.S.
As she notes, the president has a habit of demeaning his female critics by choosing to either ignore their names or hang an ugly nickname on them instead.
“'Always a mess with Mary B.,' Mr. Trump tweeted last week, attacking the female chief executive of General Motors, Mary T. Barra, as he accused the company of dragging its feet on producing ventilators," Karni wrote, before pointing out Trump writing, " 'As usual with "this' General Motors, things just never seem to work out.'"
By using "this,” she explains, the president was "apparently referring to the one led by the first female chief executive of an American auto manufacturer."
Barra is not the only woman demeaned in such a way by the president, with the reporter noting, "At least he mentioned Ms. Barra by name. When it came to Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s Democratic governor, who delivered her party’s official response to his State of the Union address earlier this year and has been pushing for a national emergency declaration in her state, Mr. Trump did not acknowledge her by name," with the president telling Fox News' Sean Hannity, “We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor. You know who I’m talking about, from Michigan.”
Later, Karni notes, Trump referred to Michigan's governor, whose national profile he has elevated, as “Gretchen ‘Half’ Whitmer,” while adding she "doesn’t have a clue.”
After Pelosi went on CNN's "State of the Union" and told host Jake Tapper, "As the president fiddles, people are dying," he fired back the following morning on "Fox & Friends" by calling the Democratic leader a "sick puppy."
Add to that his treatment of PBS NewsHour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor during a recent White House task force press conference, where he batted aside her attempt to question him with, "Let me tell you something. Be nice. Don’t be threatening. Don’t be threatening. Be nice,”
Karni explained that a clear pattern exists.
"It was a sentiment echoed by Democrats, who said Mr. Trump’s pattern of singling out women for critiques ultimately takes a toll on him politically with female voters, even as it energizes some members of his base," she wrote with former Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards concurring by saying, "When you actually poll women who did vote for him, they did it with enormous hesitation because of his bullying attitude towards women and his vulgar attitudes.”
"In the briefing room earlier this month, the president also pounced on Peter Alexander, a correspondent for NBC News, calling him a 'terrible reporter,' and accusing him of asking a 'nasty question' when Mr. Alexander asked the president to deliver his message to a fearful country. He has described Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington as a 'nasty person' and a 'snake' for criticizing the administration’s response to the virus," Karni conceded before adding, "But his attacks on women even as the country together faces a pandemic have stood out, in part because they recall his dismissal of his 2016 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, as a 'nasty woman,' and of many powerful women who have challenged him since."
According to Democratic strategist Jess McIntosh, there is a reason why women are often the target of the president's most personal attacks.
“The difference is that it’s easier to name the women he doesn’t attack. And the attacks become much faster and meaner when he himself is facing some kind of pressure and he lashes out at who he perceives to be the weakest person in the room,” she explained.