As Ashley Feinberg notes in Deadspin, Trump has a long history of making wildly inappropriate comments about his daughters, particularly the eldest and favorite Ivanka. In 1997, when Ivanka was 16 years old, Trump asked Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee (then Miss Universe), “Don’t you think my daughter’s hot? She’s hot, right?” In 2006, he said on The View, “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
It’s tempting to analyze these statements in Oedipal terms. But perhaps they say more about Trump’s relationship with women in general than his particular relationship with his daughters. As Michelle Goldberg convincingly argued in Slate, “For Trump, the only salient distinction when judging a women’s worth is whether she is fuckable or unfuckable.”
If that is the starting premise, then the logic is inescapable: 1) Women are worthy to the extent they are fuckable; 2) my daughters are women; 3) I value them more than anything; 4) so the highest praise I can give them is to say they are extremely fuckable. As a man who loves his daughters, Trump can think of no greater way to express his affection than to praise them as sex goddesses. His comments might make others cringe, but from Trump’s point of view they are heartfelt displays of love.