Republicans can be appalled to their hearts’ content at the deplorable remarks Donald Trump made about women 11 years ago, but the reality is his comments reflect the party’s position on women’s reproductive rights. Those remarks by the Republican “presidential” nominee surfaced in a video made public Friday. In it, Trump tells gossip TV spare tire Billy Bush about his failed attempt to bed a married woman. For good measure, Trump then gave his take on gender relations:
“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing [actress Arianne Zucker]. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. I just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
A slew of prominent Republicans have abandoned Trump since the video was made public. Some have even called on him to step down as the nominee, which would be unprecedented in American politics. Still, others remain steadfast in their support.
That includes Ralph Reed, the evangelical Dorian Gray and head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, who gave away the game in an interview with NPR. After condemning Trump’s remarks, Reed listed as the first reason for continuing to support this oversized bile-filled colostomy bag, to “protect unborn life.” (This is a far cry from Reed’s attitude during the administration of Bill Clinton, whose indiscretions he railed against, saying, ”We care about the conduct of our leaders, and we will not rest until we have leaders of good moral character.”)
Indeed, the 2016 Republican Party platform derisively mentions “abortion” 35 times. That’s more references than “jobs,” “trade,” “liberty,” “immigration,” “border,” and “god.”
At the state level especially, the GOP obsession with women’s uteri is obvious as well. The Guttmacher Institute notes that many states (mostly with Republican-controlled legislatures) have passed a litany of laws making it more difficult for women to get abortions. These restrictions include special physician and hospital requirements, gestational limits, government-mandated counseling, funding restrictions, waiting periods, so-called personhood amendments, and other measures designed to prevent women from accessing a safe and legal medical procedure.
Few states better illustrated these efforts this year than Mike Pence’s Indiana. This year, Trump’s running mate signed into law a bill prohibiting women from obtaining abortions on the basis of a fetus’ sex, race, nationality, or disability. This absurd law was enacted despite the fact that women seeking abortions are not legally required to give their reasons for wanting the procedure. For all intents and purposes, Indiana’s law, which was temporarily struck down by a federal judge in June, makes it possible to convict women of thought crime.
Though it’s not exactly an eloquent phraseology, Trump’s crude line is exactly the position the Republican Party has adopted on women’s reproductive rights. The party whose leadership consists of, and is supported by, mostly men has decided that it is not a woman’s place to make decisions for herself with respect to the most personal decision she can make.
Instead these Republicans say it is the business of the state to regulate women’s bodies and, should these women ever find themselves mulling an abortion, it’s incumbent upon the government to “grab them by the pussy” and prevent them from making the “wrong” choice.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, a hidden camera captured Mitt Romney chiding the 47% of Americans “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims,” and who pay no income tax. It solidified the widely held perception of Romney as an aloof vulture capitalist born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
Four years later a similarly leaked video has cemented Trump’s reputation as a misogynistic pig who thinks he can have his way with 51% of Americans. And so does the Republican Party. After all, “You can do anything.”
“Grab them by the pussy.”