Donald Trump: Making sexism great again with Brigitte Macron

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President Trump approves of Brigitte Macron's "good shape" (screen shot via reuters.com).

Trump's sleazy appraisal and "trumpliment" of Brigitte Macron's "good shape" is a vile insult to women everywhere, says contributing editor-at-large, Tess Lawrence.

DONALD TRUMP'S cock-in-mouth disease needs attending to. Big time.

The natural born predator clearly can't help himself when in the vicinity of the opposite sex.

His repugnant and condescending remarks to France's First Lady, Brigitte Macron, cannot simply be excused as a typical Trumpism. Why do the United States and the world continuously cut him slack?

In Paris for Bastille Day and in full view of the world's media, the Donald looked Brigitte up and down her petite frame and rudely pointed his hands towards her body to give emphasis to the offensive pending faux pas.

“You're in such good shape", he says to her as if in disbelief — and then he turns to the man he deems her lord and master, and asserts his presidential seal of approval to his brother, political leader, Emmanuel ... ”She's in such good physical shape”, he says in rude astonishment to her husband. “Beautiful!” he finally concludes.

It is as if she were a mare or a prize cow. Or a Miss Universe contestant.


During this "I wasn't expecting your old lady to look this good, Manny, given that she's old enough to be your mom" type of soliloquy, both Melania Trump and Brigitte Macron literally had each other's back in a gesture of sisterly solidarity that most of us – men and women alike – understand when trying to diffuse offence while imparting empathy, perhaps sympathy.

You will see Trump give a strange and rather nervous look at Melania during this rating of Brigitte — surely the sexual measuring gauge equivalent to the Dow Jones Industrial indices.


A "trumpliment" from the Donald is an insult.

Would Trump have dared to say the same thing to any of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's wives — or to the King himself?

To the best of my knowledge, the key women in the Saudi Royal household were kept well away from Donald Trump and his entourage, including Melania and Ivanka Trump — even behind closed doors.


How would Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have responded had Trump said the same thing to his wife, Lucy?

On several occasions, even during Trump's inauguration, Melania Trump has been prepared to publicly display her annoyance and distaste for physical contact with her husband — at times giving him the cold shoulder, forced smiles and famously rejecting his hand.

Like the rest of us, she knows where it might have last been – possibly pussy grabbing, as he notoriously discussed with the appropriately named Billy Bush of Access Hollywood in tapes that surfaced in October last year, from an interview recorded during the first year of his marriage to the former Melanija Knavs, now Melania, Mrs Trump the Third.


Whilst Trump dismissed the interview as "locker-room" talk, Melania did herself and sisters no favours by describing the public interview as "boy-talk".

So often, the former model seemed sullen and reluctant to be a public figure, performing trophy wife duties on the global catwalk, although she smiles more these days.

Time and again, Trump's conceded transgressions and lasciviousness have humiliated and demeaned her, and women in general. At the least he is charged with the national responsibility of a duty of care to all Americans, women included.

His lack of respect for women has already spawned a presidential culture that is now imposing fundamentalist conservative views, patriarchial edicts and retrograde values upon women and their reproductive rights, including services dispensed by American non-government organisations working in humanitarian and medical endeavours in countries devastated by catastrophic natural and cruel man-made disasters.

He's a ghastly excuse for a man. And we cannot judge all men by him.

The self-confessed womaniser and pussy grabber is notorious for his sexual verballing, but he undermines the many good works and progressive American minds working at home and abroad.

His remarks damage their street cred. It makes it difficult for NGOs and other organisations to negotiate and navigate pathways through problems when their leader is so crass, misogynistic, and clearly terrified of smart and authoritative women.

Like it or not, Trump is America. When he travels abroad he becomes the caricature of "the ugly American" tourist. He makes America grate again.

Let's not muck about. Trump's snide remarks to Brigitte Macron were not – are not – harmless.

His obnoxious remarks demean him and the Office of the President, and expose a crass and brittle version of masculinity that reduces women to mere chattels belonging to men. It does matter how the leader of the freebie world regards and treats women. In fact, it matters how all leaders – men or women – behave towards women; towards everyone. Just as it matters how the rest of us treat each other.


His bellicose sexual overtures are more than offensive. They border on harassment. Indeed, a number of women claim Trump has sexually harassed them. He feels his celebrity status accords him special licence. It does not. He obviously feels his presidential status accords him even greater licence. It does not.

But non, Trump regretsrien.

He has boasted that he has never apologised to Melania because he has never done anything wrong.

Yeah. Right.

Trump seems to have a compulsion to rate us; give us a score; to check out amongst his peers who has the more beautiful female wife, partner ... daughter.

He's affirmed shock jock Howard Stern calling his daughter Ivanka a "piece of ass" and his father's pride crosses the line into incestuous territory.

The man is a repeat offender, a sexist half-wit and a boor.

As the Huffington Post pointed out:

'The newly unearthed Stern interview is not the only time Trump has objectified his daughter. In 2006, He said on ABC’s 'The View' that if Ivanka weren’t his daughter, he’d be dating her. Trump doubled down on those comments in an interview with Rolling Stone in 2015. “Yeah, she’s really something, and what a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father ..." Trump said


Everywhere that Ivanka goes, her father's grossing out on her sexiness stalks her.

When Trump, Melania and Ivanka Trump triumphed recently in Saudi Arabia, that boiler room of exported terrorism scholarship (yes the same Saudi that has joined its brother monarchies in "outlawing" Qatar for harbouring terrorists) lewd jokes abounded about the Trumpian "menage a trois, his incestuous harem", inspired by Sheik Donald's own words.

Trump boasts he screwed a great multi-billion dollar armaments deal from the Saudis. So he did — if you're okay dealing with a regime that suppresses women, freedom of speech, dissenters and everything else with a heartbeat.

We're up for it too. Saudi Arabia is Australia's second largest trade partner in the Middle East and we're greedy for more despite the multi-tiered abuses of human rights.

Saudi Arabia has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that forbids women drivers and yet it is common knowledge that many women in the royal household as well as "commoners" drive when overseas – even when in Bahrain and Kuwait, where women are allowed to drive – and, ironically, in the state-owned Saudi Aramco luxury compound in Dhahran women are free to drive. Go figure.


Former Saudi citizen Manal al-Sharif, who now lives in Sydney, describes in her book Daring to Drive, how she felt 'like one of my father's songbirds, let out of its cage and flying around the room' when she talked the torque, rebelled and drove her own car in Saudi and suffered the consequences — including losing custody of her children because of her civil disobedience.

It's pathetic how we mostly avert our eyes when it comes to gender equality.

Is all of this related to Trump's sleazy comments about Brigitte Macron and women in general?  It is. It is all part of the sexist international bar coding that is the plight of the majority of girls and women.

These genetically modified markers explicitly and implicitly define the female as more often the lesser gender of the homo sapiens — more disadvantaged. It is the default position.

Donald's "trumpliment" is not simply a First World female problem. It goes to the very id of global male domination and autocracy — an intellectual man spread that has invaded every facet of life in every country.

Trump's world view is a reality show, a Miss Universe pageant. But should he be excused his verbal transgressions for this?


The reality check is that Brigitte Macron has just contributed to what is probably the century's most successful democratic election campaign, that saw a little-known candidate swept to power in an extraordinary landslide electoral juggernaut that defied conventional wisdom and tactics, and steamrolled the opposition.

As the power behind Emmanuel's En Marche campaign and strategy, she leaves the likes of Theresa May's, Donald Trump's and Malcolm Turnbull's campaign teams looking like spent Luddites.

We should remember that Brigitte Macron is a relative novice in national election campaigns and, moreover, had to out-manoeuvre hard-line malevolent community forces and experienced campaigners, including far-Right extremists who continue to cloak white supremacy in the tricolours of red, white and blue, exploiting patriotism and supplanting multiculturalism with monoculturalism — much as they try to do in Australia.

Of course, one's appearance and attire in public life can be code for political tools as well as fashion metaphors and subtext. Consider that Melania and Ivanka did not cover their heads in Saudi Arabia, and yet did so when meeting Pope Francis.


Michelle Obama's adventurous sense of personal style included the "right to bare arms". She was and is unafraid to expose her toned biceps and she made fitness and healthy eating a cornerstone of her "reign" — and continues to do so.

Some thought it improper. But there's more to this than meets the ire.

Her bare arms, exposed and much photographed on formal occasions in the White House and when on walkabout on official duties, actually gave the green light to the right of women in Congress to wear sleeveless clothes. It can get pretty hot in the House at times, as we know — weather-wise, as well.

It will surprise many to know that the right to bare arms for women (or men, for that matter) is forbidden in parts of the hallowed building.


On Friday in Washington, the temperature soared to 36 degrees celsius — perfect timing for congresswomen and others to protest on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building by staging "Sleeveless Friday".

Around the time Trump was making his sleazy comments, the world's youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient and survivor of a Taliban assassination attempt whens she was a schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai, was in Northern Iraq as part of her "Girl Power Trip" – going to refugee camps and meeting with girls forced out of school during the nightmare catastrophe that is what is left of the human and bricks and mortals rubble that is Mosul – with all joining in to help the Pakistani-born activist, who now lives in the UK, celebrates her 20th birthday.

The writer and Malala Fund co-founder Yousafzai had already built up a formidable international reputation while a very young schoolgirl writing for the BBC, and criticising the Taliban for banning education for girls and closing down schools.

It is a triumph of her short but inspirational and powerful life that, despite what the Taliban did, Malala has just finished high school.

The Pakistan Government awarded her their inaugural National Youth Peace Prize but the Taliban had her in their crosshairs and, on 9 October 2011, while Malala and friends had joyously boarded a bus to take them back home after sitting for exams, a masked Taliban thug boarded and opened fire on the children. In an attack that injured Kainat and Shazia – two of Malala's friends – and after identifying Malala, the gunman shot the 15-year-old in the head, neck and upper body, leaving her with critical injuries.


Her story and personal journey are diminished by the sort of puerile and dangerous remarks made by Trump and his ilk, where women are reduced to portions of liposucked flesh.

I couldn't help but think of how Trump would rate Malala's shot-up face?

What would he say to her in person?

Compare her fierce and inclusive intellect, her spontaneous no-notes eloquence, her conduct, her courage, her outreach, her love for humanity, with Trump's.


There's no contest. Not even in Trump's parallel Miss Universe.

Back home, two senior executive Australian Football League (AFL) executives, Simon Lethlean and Richard Simkiss resign because of extramarital sexual trysts with younger female employees of the AFL.

Just a few days ago it was revealed that the inaugural Commissioner of Border Force, Roman Quaedvlieg – he of notorious botched Operation Fortitude Austasi fame – has been on leave for weeks over a "personal" matter, apparently involving a younger staff member.

It had been alleged that the Commissioner helped the woman, that he has since confirmed to be his partner, secure a job at Sydney Airport. Commissioner Quaedvlieg has denied this.

The matter has been referred to The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

Then, even fewer days ago, it was revealed that Border Force Assistant Commissioner Peter Docwra, who was also on leave apparently because of an "inappropriate" relationship with a female member of staff, has resigned.

At the least, the corporate culture of Border Force needs to be investigated, as well as the role that workplace power imbalances have on staff relationships, intimate or otherwise.


Thus all roads lead to Trumpland and a possible link between the outrageous remarks to the Macrons (to say nothing of the ridiculous "manshakes") and the now numerous investigations into the role and influence of Russia on the 2016 presidential campaign — and upon the Trump family, employees and businesses.

It could be that Trump was trying to bait international attention away from the increasingly bizarre bunglings of Donald Trump Junior back home in the States. At least to buy time and attempt some damage control in this burgeoning scandal — especially Junior's meeting with Russian lawyers, intelligence officers, interpreters, possibly Babushka dolls and Cossack dancers who were going to give them some pay dirt on Hillary Clinton.

However, it seems that Junior's been fibbing and withholding salient facts, and those who work for Big Daddy Donald has been – yep, you guessed it – peddling "fake news".

It's also been revealed that, just a few days before the New York Times published a swag of emails between Junior (that he hurriedly published as well) and the meeting go-betweens, $50,000 from Trump campaign funds were transferred to Junior's lawyer. Why do you think that was?

Naughty, naughty, Junior.

Team Trump has been putting it about that U.S. intel approved the meeting with the gremlins from the Kremlin.

Nyet says the U.S. Secret Service, they did no such thing.

I'm leaning towards the distinct possibility that Trump deliberately insulted Brigitte to take the heat off Donald Junior. Ditto the handshake an' all.


But in doing so, he has insulted our intelligence. And what is worse for him, insulted U.S. intelligence services as well.

You gotta hand it to those Russkies.

They can sure pick a loser.

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