On Saturday, the New York Times published a detailed piece on how Donald Trump has treated women throughout his life. The story was based on over 50 interviews and many of the women relay their experience through direct quotes.
The piece includes allegations that Trump unwantedly groped a female employee under a table, kissed contestants in his beauty pageant on the lips and degraded women who he thought had gained weight or were insufficiently “hot.”
Trump disputes many of the allegations. One woman quoted, Rowanne Brewer Lane, made the cable TV rounds yesterday to “dispute” the story. She didn’t claim she was misquoted but rejected the implication that her interactions with Trump were negative.
But Trump’s alleged conduct fits into a broader pattern of behavior toward women. During the campaign, he mocked the face of his one female opponent, Carly Fiorina. Most famously, he attacked Megyn Kelly, one of Fox News’ biggest stars, calling her a “bimbo” and implying she asked him a tough question because she was menstruating.
Nevertheless, Trump’s was able to find his most fervent defenders on Fox News. In a single day, May 16, people appearing on Fox News airwaves offered at least 15 different excuses and justifications of Trump’s behavior toward women.
1. It’s old news because everyone knows Trump treats women badly.
“What’s the news? That Trump uses boorish words? Who didn’t know that? Trump had a spat with Rosie O’Donnell years ago that got plastered coast-to-coast. Everyone knows that.” — Greta Van Sunstren
2. Obama went to Bill Ayers’ house.
“It reminds me of an article [the New York Times] didn’t do in 2007 abut a candidate who actually had a fundraiser with a terrorist. I ask everyone to do the Bill Ayers test and look at whatever is in that article. Does anything in that article come, even close to meeting with Bill Ayers, a terrorist who tried to kill Americans.” — Greg Gutfeld
3. When he was doing this stuff, he didn’t think he would run for president.
“The other thing that he has said that I think is somewhat, I think, defensible. He talked about past degradation of women in this way: ‘I never anticipated running for public office or being a politician.’ …He basically talks about being entertaining and it was not necessarily meant to be degrading.” — Dana Perino
4. Trump just loves women.
“I think this is helpful because you are looking at a general exoneration about the nature of his character. He loves women.” — Tammy Bruce
5. No one cares about Trump’s personal life.
“I think it was a hit piece. I think when you run for president, your life is on display. I think the American voters care a little less about every aspect of someone’s personal life… Donald Trump is running for president. He’s not on trial. Those of us who want to vote for him and do support him, we are not his character witnesses.” — Matt Schlapp
6. It’s all a ploy to distract people from the Obama/Clinton economy.
“All of the news that’s fit to recycle. I think we go back to the fact that the Obama/Clinton economy has failed the people. The New York Times throws their little stink bomb out there. We’ll see other similar things I’m sure.” — Laura Ingraham
7. Bill Clinton!
“Does anything in this article even come close to what Bill Clinton did?…The New York Times is going to do what they are going to do but if the Clintons want to use this ‘war on women’ thing with Donald Trump they better be careful because there is so much material that Trump can use against Bill Clinton.” — Eric Bolling
8. This was a long time ago and Trump has done worse things to women recently.
“I don’t think this article is going to move the needle. When you read the article it was actually pretty nuanced. There was nothing in there that Donald Trump did that to me rose to the level of calling Megyn Kelly a bimbo or all the other horrible things he’s said just recently… If this was an article that meant to expose him as a horrible predator to women, I don’t think it succeeded.” — Mara Liasson
9. It wasn’t “egregious”.
“I think the New York Times piece fell flat for just the reasons you heard here before. I just didn’t think it was compelling that ‘oh this is egregious behavior.’” — Juan Williams
10. It doesn’t matter because women are voting for him for president, not for husband.
“Look, obviously there is a lot of evidence that Donald Trump has said and perhaps done things that aren’t great for women. It kind of cuts both ways. A lot of women are saying, ‘I’m not voting for him for husband. I wouldn’t marry him. I’m voting for him for president.’” — Melissa Francis
11. You can find negative things to say about anyone.
“We can find people to say negative things about any public person. We know we can make any story come out a certain way… We do know that [Trump] is a flamboyant entertainer and provocateur who lives lavishly.” — Bill O’Reilly
12. Everyone already knows Trump is an immature jerk toward women.
“Even if you assume all of it is correct, is it really news that Donald Trump acted adolescent and boorish toward women?” — Brit Hume
13. Trump also treats women badly in public.
“This is supposed to be behind the scenes, the real hidden secret Trump, how he deals with women. What do you get from it? He treats some well. He treats some boorishly. How is that different from how Trump, a public man, has in public treated women?” — Charles Krauthhammer
14. The New York Times is freaking out because Donald Trump is going to be president.
“The New York Times has got this terrible dilemma. The New York Times is a genuinely deeply liberal, in fact, ultra left wing publication. It has moved steadily to the left now for about 40 years and so I think they are faced with this terrible quandary because at the rate things are going now, Donald Trump’s going to be president and that will be a nightmare for The New York Times.” — Newt Gingrich
15. No one ever wrote an article about the nasty things people said about Sarah Palin.
“Where was that New York Times front page above the fold piece outrage about all the boorish things said about another woman, Governor Sarah Palin? No place. Because she doesn’t count. Because it’s not a woman the Times cares about. They care about their agenda.” — Greta Van Sunstren
On Monday, the one person on Fox News who did not dismiss the New York Times story was Megyn Kelly. “It’s a complex analysis. It’s not a total hit piece on him,” she said. “He has of course used language about women that is absolutely diminishing.”