At the third and final presidential debate on Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton slipped in a dig at her opponent while explaining how she wants to raise taxes on the wealthy to help pay for Social Security.
“My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald’s—assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it,” she said. “But what we want to do is to replenish the Social Security trust fund—”
“Such a nasty woman,” the Vulgarian interjected, his short index finger wagging in the air like a baby carrot in the grip of a hungry toddler. Then he flashed a self-satisfied smirk, quite like toddlers do when they wet their diaper.
Viewers rightly mocked Trump, the most famous nasty person in America, for having the audacity to call someone else nasty. After all, this is the man who has bragged about his penis size during a Republican primary debate; said “it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass”; called Rosie O’Donnell a “disgusting” “slob” and a “big, fat pig”; allegedly described Alicia Machado, a Miss Universe winner, as “Miss Piggy”; told New York Times columnist Gail Collins she had “The Face of a Dog!”; said Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her ... wherever”; couldn’t imagine Carly Fiorina as president because “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?”; and said his fame allows him to grab women “by the pussy” without their consent. Not to mention that so many women have accused him of sexual assault that I’ve stopped counting.
This is a mind-boggling list of offenses for any human, let alone one who still has a viable, if diminishing chance of running this country for the next four years.
But given all of these horrific things Trump has said and done, his “nasty woman” remark could be characterized as just the latest hypocritical outburst from a known sexist and misogynist. And yet, Trump’s insult of Clinton isn’t precisely hypocritical—not within the logic of his warped mind. His entire worldview is founded on a perceived inequality of the sexes. Thus, he may accuse a woman of being nasty, even if he’s infinitely nastier, because he holds the sexes to different standards.
In Trump’s world, men are allowed to be fat and ugly—orange hair, say, and stubby fingers—as long as they’re powerful, and they’re allowed to treat women as sex objects, brag about sexual assault, and even commit sexual assault. Women are supposed to be thin, polite, hot, and, most importantly, deferential to men in all aspects of life, if not outright subservient. When women behave this way, Trump treats them with ... well, sometimes he gropes them, allegedly. But he thinks he treats them with respect, anyway.
When women behave otherwise, Trump makes no such pretense; women who do not act ladylike are not deserving of respectful treatment. This is why the women who have criticized him publicly, from O’Donnell to Kelly to Machado, have been on the receiving end of his nastiest comments. And it’s why he devolved into a petty toddler when a powerful, attractive, brilliant woman attacked him on national television, emasculating him in front of millions of women whom he sees as nothing more than future sexual conquests.