Donald Trump has been president for 621 days. In that time, he has shamed and disgraced himself and his office at least 621 times–and that’s probably an extremely conservative estimate. Yet another of those moments came on Tuesday night, when Trump came to Southaven, Mississippi, a suburb of Memphis.
While stumping for Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Trump saw fit to take yet another swipe Christine Blasey Ford, whose claim that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 35 years ago has thrown Kavanaugh’s confirmation into turmoil. Specifically, Trump mocked Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate last week, to wild applause. Watch here.
The condemnation was fast, hard, and bipartisan. Senator Jeff Flake, whose call for a renewed FBI probe derailed a planned confirmation vote, told NBC’s “Today” that there was no place for such comments, especially from the president.
The other two Republicans still on the fence about Kavanaugh, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, were equally unsparing in denouncing Trump’s monologue for the pigweed that it was. However, two very prominent Republicans have–so far–remained silent on the matter. Namely, Trump’s nominal hosts on Tuesday night, Hyde-Smith and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.
Soon after Trump left the stage in Southaven, Bryant fell all over himself to thank Trump for coming to the Magnolia State.
Um, Phil? As I write this on Wednesday night, you have yet to say one word about Trump’s disgusting mockery of Blasey Ford. So you’ll have to pardon me if I ask whether you’re “proud” that Trump saw fit to engage in this behavior. I hope not.
Hyde-Smith, whom Trump endorsed for a full term in the seat of recently retired Senator Thad Cochran, was no less enthused.
Well, Cindy, since you have also remained silent since Trump’s outrageous comments last night, I have to wonder–is a vote for you a vote to condone the mocking of women who claim to have been sexually assaulted?
Frankly, Bryant and Hyde Smith’s silence on this matter is almost as appalling as Trump’s monologue. What message does this send to the people of Mississippi? Are young Mississippians to believe that this is acceptable behavior for our leaders? It’s easy to see how some might think it is, given that they saw the president not only got the bright idea to do it in their state, but that their governor and junior Senator have thus far stood mute on it.
And what of sexual assault victims? Imagine a woman who has been sexually assaulted and is thinking about coming forward. She turns on her television in Jackson, Biloxi, or Hattiesburg and sees the president mocking a woman who recently came forward. She also notices that her governor and junior Senator have yet to say a word denouncing this pigweed. Is it any wonder that many sexual assault victims wait years to come forward, if they do so at all?
Hyde-Smith’s only possible defense for remaining silent is a craven one. She is running for a full term in one of the few states where Trump still walks on water. According to Morning Consult, 61 percent of Mississippians approve of Trump’s performance. Not only is this Trump’s fourth-best performance at the state level, but it far outstrips his performance at the national level. Additionally, Hyde-Smith was a Democrat as late as 2010, and her efforts to establish her conservative bonafides haven’t been enough to stave off a credible challenger to her right in tea party state senator Chris McDaniel.
Bryant, however, has no excuse–even a craven one–for remaining silent. He’s term-limited in 2019. But political considerations should be the furthest thing from the minds of anyone calling himself or herself a leader on matters like this. Even if you don’t believe Blasey Ford, it is not acceptable to mock or degrade a woman claiming to have been sexually assaulted in this way. Not now, not ever.
By not having the guts to stand up and condemn this pigweed from Trump, Bryant and Hyde-Smith have shamed themselves and shamed the state of Mississippi. They have forgotten that they represent all of the people of the Magnolia State, not just those who bow down to Trump like they do. It’s time for them to show some leadership for once and denounce Trump’s comments. Let Bryant have it–politely, of course–on Facebook and on Twitter. And call out Hyde-Smith on Facebook and on Twitter.
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