Pando

Donald Trump, chaotic narcissist

By Leigh Cowart , written on April 1, 2016

From The Politics Desk

This week, a major U.S. Presidential candidate threatened on the internet to “spill the beans” about another candidate’s wife then retweeted some petty shit about the relative aesthetic value of their respective wives, stood by his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after he assaulted a female reporter, and intimated that one in three American women deserve “some form of punishment” before he skittered around that call for penance the way those nightmare desert spiders bury themselves in the sand.

So yeah, Donald Trump isn’t really great with women.

But surely that’s not surprising anymore? This is a man who told a contestant on his business-themed reality TV show that she’d look good on her knees, makes uncomfortable jabs about menstruation on national television, and loves to casually imply that he would definitely fuck his daughter if it weren’t for the pesky mess of familial genetics and propriety.

So when, on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, Donald Trump finally stepped in a pile of shit big enough that even he scrambled to clean it up, I was surprised. His moves in the wake of his comments on abortion are akin to Oscar the Grouch suddenly deciding his trash palace was too cluttered and that maybe he ought to do some tidying, but amazingly, yes, Trump said something so stupid and cruel that even he, the great, recalcitrant Tan Dumplord wriggled in the crosshairs of a bipartisan backlash.

Specifically, Trump is now in the throes of riding out bipartisan ire over comments about abortion. Got to hand it to the man, it’s hard to piss off both sides of that argument in one fell swoop, but this is no ordinary man, and he does not function in ordinary ways.

Here’s how it went down: Trump told Matthews that abortion, if it were made illegal, should carry “some form of punishment, yeah.” For those of you playing along at home, please note that one in three American women will have an abortion in her lifetime, just so we’re clear on the ubiquity and necessity of this kind of basic bodily autonomy.

Granted, the right to an abortion is protected under Roe v. Wade, and while many states are currently doing their damndest to make sure that every woman who winds up pregnant stays that way for as long as humanly possible, deciding not have a baby is still, well, perfectly legal. But if Republican lawmakers with their reproduction control fetishes get their way, Trump’s stance is that yes, of course, if we are allowed to punish women for this, let’s fucking do it.

Cue the screaming of thousands of GOP advisors who watched their oh-so-subtly crafted narrative that merely alluded to the damnation of women suddenly writ large on national television.

Perhaps a little too blunt there, Trump. But the man is nothing if not a blunt instrument for the outrage machine, and sure as hell isn’t above changing his stance on things to chum the waters for his frenzied followers.

Matthews then asked him if the punishment for an abortion should apply specifically to women, to which Trump replied “Yes.” This is where the pro-life crowd gets angry, as their thirst for retribution extends to the service providers of abortions, not just the women who’d like to make some personal healthcare decisions. (Pro-choicers, of course, were already pissed off at this point.)

And then came the squirming. Following his comments on abortion and the concomitant political turdnado splattering our beleaguered media machine, a Trump spokeswoman sent out a statement saying: “The issue is unclear and should be put back into the states for determination,” adding that Trump was “like Ronald Reagan” in that he was pro-life with exceptions, a fact he has outlined “numerous times”.

Then--and we’re still on the same day, here, chronologically--Trump issued another explanation, calling not for the punishment of women seeking abortions under this conservative wet dream scenario where Roe v. Wade is overturned, but instead calling for the persecution of the doctors performing the procedures.

“If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman.”

To recap:

  1. If abortion was illegal, hell yeah, punish them slutty ladies for being all fertile.
  2. Wait, I did not understand the question.
  3. This is just my fantasy, please don’t yell, we can lock up the doctors instead.

What we have here is a man who has publically stated a belief that, were the laws changed to further strip women of their already eroding reproductive rights, we should be able to punish women for something that a man could do to her without her consent.

And the worst part about it? It’s all total crap.

It’s one thing to hear frothing evangelicals spit and moan about women and their outlandish desire to be more than breed cattle for the republic, but at least when they do it, it’s heartfelt. Those crazy bastards want to elevate the rights of a blastocyst over those of a full-grown woman. The reasoning is often all tied up in religion and power and shame, but, for what it’s worth, the politicians dying on this particular hill appear, in their fervor, to mean it.

But not Trump. And that is what is truly frightening.

Trump’s been, shall we say, inconsistent when it comes to reproductive rights. For instance, in 1999, he declared himself “very pro-choice”; when this was brought up during a 2015 debate, he invoked the Just-Like-Reagan-I-too-have-evolved defense, saying that he had a child that was going to be aborted, but wasn’t, so now I guess no one should get abortions?

The logic isn’t sound, but Trump isn’t running with a pretence to rationality.

It’s one thing to say crazy shit that you believe, or at least consistently appear to. It’s another to be so without the twin anchors of morality and common sense that one will say anything, anything at all, just to suckle at the teat of attention. That is a different kind of danger, the water damage that erodes a house simply because it can go anywhere it pleases. He is the chaotic narcissist.

Worse than the idiots who truly believe women should not have control of their bodies is Trump, who is willing to stand on the shoulders of those misguided giants such that he may ascend ever higher into the pantheon of American bullshit that’s choking out this election cycle. And if the fallout of his ascension must be carried on the backs of women, so be it.

Because when it comes to misogyny, Donald Trump is nothing if not consistent.