When President Donald Trump committed an undeniably vulgar and demeaning Twitter attack on MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski yesterday, response from all corners – including the Republican Party – was swift. And to their credit, some in the GOP, like Sens. Lindsey Graham and Ben Sasse, were unambiguously reproachful in their responses. Other Republican leaders who did choose to weigh in, most notably Speaker of the House Paul Ryan – who said, “Obviously, I don’t see that as an appropriate comment” – took a stance more in keeping with the party’s policy of enabling the president’s sustained assault on the dignity and stature of the office.
It’s doubtful yesterday’s odious messages will finally catalyze the GOP to pick up the mantle of responsibility to the American people who elected them and perform their duty as a check on the power and behavior of the president toward 51 percent of the population.
But unless they want to be tarred as the party of misogyny, something more needs to be done to break the pattern.
In the most immediate sense, the president’s tweet about Brzezinski’s “bleeding badly from a facelift” brought back uncomfortable memories of his grade-school-level attacks on former Fox News host Megyn Kelly.
But without even going to the trouble of entering “Donald Trump misogynistic comments” in a search bar, these names immediately come to mind: the Billy Bush audio; former Miss Universe Alicia Machado (for gaining weight); the former People Magazine reporter (I did have to Google her name – Natasha Stoynoff – he made it clear she was too ugly for him to bother macking on); Rosie O’Donnell; Caitriona Perry (the Irish reporter subjected to his uncomfortable comments in the Oval Office this week).
As he has proven with every other issue, there is no pivot coming. President Trump, despite his apologists’ efforts, is not going to have the big reveal after the commercial break to show that he doesn’t really hold abhorrent views about women. The question then becomes: if they know he’s not going to change his behavior, how will Republicans change theirs? If they continue along this path of worthless utterances, then the following quote unearthed yesterday by Dan Rather – from Army lawyer Joseph Welch to US Sen. Joe McCarthy during his 1954 testimony against McCarthy’s communist witch hunts – will apply as much to them as it does to the president.
“Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.”
Nonviolent offenders: The PA Senate passed a bill that would seal records for minor offenses if a person goes 10 years without committing another crime. It’s a huge win for the bill’s co-sponsors as well, Democrat Anthony Hardy Williams and Republican Scott Wagner.
The PA GOP: An AP analysis shows that gerrymandering helped the GOP pick up three additional US House seats in the commonwealth than it would have otherwise won in last year’s election.
Bill Peduto: Pittsburgh’s mayor once again in the winner’s circle, this time for being named one of “America’s Most Interesting Mayors” and for taking speaking engagements in England and France to extol the virtues of his fair city.
Seth Williams: In a shocking mid-trial move, Williams pleaded guilty in his federal bribery trial and immediately resigned from his position as Philadelphia DA.
Laureen Cummings and Patrick O’Malley: The two Lackawanna County Commissioners punted their responsibility to call for an urgently needed property reassessment measure, a move that led the Scranton Times-Tribune called “a new low in cowardice.”
Jesse White: the former PA Rep. was disbarred this week after accusations that he misappropriated almost $100,000 in client funds.