Referring to Carly Fiorina, Trump tells Rolling Stone: "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?"
Trump insults everyone, not just women, Mel Robbins says
His comments confirm his fans' beliefs without them having to say them, she says
Editor’s Note: Mel Robbins is a CNN commentator, legal analyst, best-selling author and keynote speaker. In 2014, she was named outstanding news talk-radio host by the Gracie Awards. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Is Donald Trump sexist? Nope, he’s an equal opportunity offender.
His insult this time, quoted in an interview with Rolling Stone, was directed at GOP candidate Carly Fiorina’s appearance: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?”
At this point, I’m not sure why anyone is surprised. His quote fits perfectly with his new political brand, Offensive Politics. Trump has just two rules: always be on the attack, personally and professionally, and be unapologetic when people get upset.
Whether he’s slamming the sincerity of Ben Carson’s religiosity or Rick Perry’s glasses (he wears them “so people think he’s smart”), or retweeting Twitter posts calling Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” – everyone is under attack. Lindsey Graham is a “stiff,” Arianna Huffington is a “liberal clown,” Macy’s stores “suck,” Karl Rove a “total loser,” the Republican National Committee “very foolish,” Juan Williams “a child,” Sen. John McCain “not a war hero,” and the list goes on and on …. and on.
In Offensive Politics, no man, woman, child, corporation or country is safe. The question is why do Americans love this? The answer, confirmation bias.
In a nutshell, neuroscientists have long known that we tend to like people who confirm what we already believe.
Consider Trump’s standing in a CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday: He has the support of 32% of Republicans and leads among Republican women polled, with their support for him up 13 percentage points: rising to 33% from 20% in August. Confirmation bias and common sense suggest that if he’s leading in the polls, many conservative voters agree with his opinions, even though they might now say so aloud.
According to Rolling Stone writer Paul Solotaroff, he was sitting with Trump watching a newscast when a video clip zoomed in on Fiorina.
Trump scoffed, “Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!”
Trump added, “I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
Even his disclaimer plays to the confirmation bias. Can’t you just hear someone thinking to themselves?
Yes, Trump, you’re not s’posedta say bad things about a woman’s face, but Carly does look (insert insult) now that you mention it. …
Solotaroff suggested that Trump’s blessing – and curse – is that “he can’t seem to quit while he’s ahead.” Actually that’s not accurate, because Trump remains ahead even though the insults keep coming.
While intellectuals and analysts opine about whether he’s presidential enough to be president, Trump is winning the mass audience by being very unpresidential: flawed, off the cuff and on the offensive.
It’s proving to be mostly a blessing and not so much of a curse that he says whatever is on his mind. Americans are tired of politicians who say one thing into a mic, and another behind closed doors. Remember the time Fiorina ripped into her rival, Sen. Barbara Boxer, unaware a CNN affiliate’s cameras were rolling, “God what is that hair? So yesterday!”
We’ll keep tuning in to Trump because when he takes the podium, curiosity kicks in, and we all wonder, what on earth is he going to do next? Will he ask someone to pet his hair? Who will he insult?
Here’s the key takeaway: Conservative voters would rather have Offensive Politics than politics as usual.
While the rest of the planet debates whether or not Trump is sexist, Fiorina is acting like a pro. She knows his comments aren’t personal – it’s politics. Fiorina’s take, “Maybe, just maybe, I’m getting under his skin a little bit because I am climbing up the polls.”
In Offensive Politics, one thing is for sure: You need thick skin … and interesting hair.