Earlier this week, we were treated to the gentle sounds of another Trump Twitter tantrum, this time targeting MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. What set this one apart from his usual ranting was a few horrifying descriptors.
“I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore),” he began. “Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came … to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Years Eve, and insisted on joining me.”
“She was bleeding badly from a face-lift,” he continued, referring to Brzezinski. “I said no!”
His description of the encounter was a lie, and an obvious one at that.
The tweets are not, sadly, all that surprising given the president’s record of being mad online. But the grotesqueness with which he targets Brzezinski, painting an image of her as a desperate, aging shrew, feels like a new level of shock horror even for Trump.
It’s also in line with other comments Trump has made throughout the years where he paints women’s bodies as disgusting, confusing bags of flesh and blood whenever they function outside the role of eye candy.
Trump’s tweets aren’t just a reflection of his obvious psychological undoing. They’re an extension of a complex that prevents him from seeing women as people. The fact that they bleed is gross, their bodies are strange, and he wants everybody else to think so too. Which would be an alarming trait in any person. But for a president with access to policy changes, it’s downright dangerous. Worse, he’s given us warning for years.
Mika Brzezinski and the stigma of plastic surgery
Behold: the latest example of Trump’s tendency to depict women’s bodies as disgusting. By using Brzezinski’s face as a special effect, he attempted to make us believe a she was so desperate for a place in the boys’ club that she was willing to stand on the steps of a sub-par resort, gushing blood. Bitch, please.
To start, anyone who rolls up to a members-only club with a bleeding face deserves the loudest of kudos for being the most punk of all people. But while Mika Brzezinski’s “little hands” clapback was punk in itself, it’s really none of our business if she chose to get plastic surgery. Nor is it the business of the president.
Not that he cares. By painting such a grotesque image in his tweets, he implies that Brzezinski underwent what he considers a shameful procedure. And we can assume this because he uses “facelift” as a pejorative. In his narrative, Mika wasn’t bleeding from an injury or from a preexisting condition, she was bleeding from a facelift — a cosmetic procedure. Likely to seem young and desirable — exactly the way Trump prefers women to look.
Isn’t that funny to see a woman try to conform to beauty ideals of youth? Or so suggests the man who uses hair plugs and a spray tan as an attempt to look younger, or who spent his first meeting with press as president-elect complaining that they printed photos of him with a double chin.
Megyn Kelly and the fear of menstruation
Every 28 to 35 days, most women of childbearing age tend to menstruate. And while the process might seem strange or unnatural to the leaders of Gilead, it also confuses and frightens the president, a (tragically) non-fictional man.
Back in 2015, Trump again used blood as proof that women were gross, describing host Megyn Kelly as having “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” in the wake of what he felt was an unfair line of questioning.
Which, admittedly, would have been extraordinary. Should Megyn Kelly had begun bleeding from her eyes on live television, it could be assumed that she boasted unfathomable powers, including the ability to moderate a debate while simultaneously battling the virus from Outbreak. But what scared Donald the most was a natural bodily function: the shedding of one’s uterine lining.
Of course, the private school system may have failed Trump, spurring a mistaken belief that menses is a source of evil. But somehow, despite being a nearly 70-year-old husband and father, the man remains unfamiliar with — and intimidated by — periods. He doesn’t experience them, so he equates menstrual blood to wrongness. So to Trump, Megyn was bleeding as an act of aggression, as a way to scare and to challenge him — maybe even to knock him from his pedestal and usurp the throne as a demon-witch. Which I admittedly attempt every month.
Breast milk is “disgusting”
In 2011, attorney Elizabeth Beck requested a break from a deposition to pump breast milk and Donald Trump was appalled. Allegedly, he turned bright red and screamed, “You’re disgusting, you’re disgusting,” which arguably should’ve made for a better campaign slogan than “Make America Great Again.”
Of course, his own lawyers disputed some of the claims, arguing that Beck ultimately whipped out a breast pump to buy time because she had run out of questions — a method that all women learn in health class, should we ever find ourselves backed into a professional corner.
But as if refusing to learn from the episode of Friends in which Ross Geller cowers at breast milk, Trump’s distrust of women’s bodies continues in his use of the word, “disgusting.” Trump seems to believe that breasts — and the women attached — have no purpose other than to appease him sexually or invoked to brag about the hotness of his own daughter. And because the president increasingly equates women to sexual objects, he’s grossed out to learn their bodies have purposes outside the realm of heteronormative sex (with him).
So when confronted with a new reality, Donald believes he’s being rallied against; that women can weaponize their bodies as a way of disgusting him to death. The fact that he was likely fed through breast milk as a baby doesn’t matter — if his own adult body doesn’t benefit now, the act is ungodly.
Women shouldn’t have a properly functioning G.I.
In 2003, Donald Trump made what could be construed as the most upsetting claims of all: that then-girlfriend/now-wife Melania Trump had never “[made] a doody.” And angels wept.
Having detailed the revelation on the Howard Stern Radio Show, both Stern and Donald sang the praises of their respective partners who’d apparently never had gas or a bowel movement. At least nothing either had experienced.
So while the president may equate a working digestion tract in the female body as a great source of upset — because only men poop — here’s hoping no one witnesses the meltdown that comes with confronting the realities of over a decade’s worth of a backed-up intestine. I guess Everybody Poops remains at a reading level far out of his reach.
The thing is, any person who thinks this way is dangerous. To actively hate and be repelled by women’s bodies is the source of toxic masculinity that fuels sexism, assault, and even worse. But because Trump’s in power, his disgust at the mere existence of women extends to policy.
I believe the most recent proposed health care bill — the Republicans’ ironically named Better Care Reconciliation Act — is a direct assault on women. Unsurprisingly, 13 men helped pen the bill that plans to overhaul and cut funding to Medicaid, which pays for half of all US births and provides insurance for millions of American women. It also promises to defund Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides breast exams, pap tests, HIV tests, STI treatments, birth control, and abortions.
But that isn’t everything: Should the bill go through, it will become increasingly difficult for women to undergo abortions entirely by banning them from using tax credits that cover the procedure. Add to this the fact that pregnancy and maternity leave could be considered non-essential under this coverage, and American women seem to be quickly backed into a corner by an administration high on their misogyny, fueled by disgust at the mere existence of a particular gender. Being a woman would be a preexisting condition.
So when Trump tweeted about Brzezinski’s alleged facelift, it was to perpetuate his disgust and to shame her into silence. Trump wanted his followers to see Mika Brzezinski as a desperate woman, grotesque in appearance, who was a dispensable source. What he didn’t consider was that not everybody thinks that way. It’s not Gilead … yet.
Anne T. Donahue is a writer and person from Ontario, Canada. She’s written for Esquire, Cosmopolitan, and Playboy, and her first book, Nobody Cares, comes out in September 2018. You can find her on Twitter at @annetdonahue.