This is surreal. On Thursday the President of the United States tweeted a mashup of the Speaker of the House to make it look as if she is drunk, incapacitated or slurring her words. The video was originally spread on social media before a Fox Business Network program featured it on air, prompting speculation about Pelosi’s health and ostensibly inspiring the President’s tweet. The is one of several doctored videos that have been circulating on social media. While YouTube has taken action and removed the clip, it remains on Facebook and Twitter.
If it felt like we couldn’t sink any lower, welcome to the Trump show, where nothing is off limits. Even the President’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has gotten in on the pathetic attack, also tweeting an altered Pelosi video before deleting it. As a justification for the initial tweet, he texted a reporter: “I have been noticing a gradual change in her speech pattern and gestures for sometime.”
Never mind the rich irony that the President can barely speak in complete sentences, often mispronounces and misspells words and increasingly seems unhinged. No, we’re meant to take seriously that Nancy Pelosi, who’s manhandled Trump in nearly every political and rhetorical battle, is losing it.
If that feels a little sexist, it’s likely meant to. This is familiar territory for Trump, who prefers cutting nicknames for his male opponents, but saves the more visceral and visual insults for his female foes.
“I have been watching her for a long period of time,” he said of Pelosi in a meeting. “She’s not the same person. She’s lost it.” He added that it was “sad” to watch “the movement and the hands and the craziness…That’s, by the way, a person that’s got some problems.”
To remind, he once said of former Fox News host Megyn Kelly after she pressed him on his treatment of women, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
Of his Republican primary opponent Carly Fiorina he told Rolling Stone, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” And of MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, he said that she looked like she’d been “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when she came to Mar-a-Lago.
It’s pathetic to watch a man – any man – turn to childish, impotent playground insults when he feels threatened by a woman. But it’s disgusting and disturbing to watch the President and leader of the free world do it time and time again.
But here we are. And it makes what Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s right-hand gal, said this week even more ridiculous.
In an interview with Fox, Conway recounted an exchange, alleging that Pelosi said to her, “I talk to the President, I don’t talk to staff.”
“I said to her, ‘How very pro-woman of you,’” Conway said. “Per usual, because she’s not very pro-woman. She is pro some women, a few women.”
As is so often the case with Trump’s advisers, Conway sounded a lot like Trump when she lashed out at Pelosi.
To be clear, this is Conway’s go-to barb. When slighted or cornered, she cries sexism – CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Dana Bash and Chris Cuomo have all been called sexist by Conway during or after interviews with her.
She seems to use this charge freely to cut down Democrats with little thought to what she is alleging. Cory Booker, she implied, was somehow sexist for – wait for it – running for president when there were already women in the primary field.
Conway’s tactic would be merely silly if not so dangerous. In crying sexism where it doesn’t exist she, of course, undermines actual sexism where it’s really present.
So, forgive us if we don’t take the girl who cried wolf seriously anymore – or her chronically complaining boss who can’t deal with a woman out-maneuvering him without calling her crazy. While Conway and Trump are off pouting, Pelosi will likely get the last laugh.