Trump and his supporters have built their own reality in which facts are no longer relevant, any excuse will do, and the past can be rewritten simply by refusing to acknowledge that it ever happened. Donald Trump has repeatedly been outed as a fraud, a crook, a liar, a misogynist, a racist, and a narcissist, but has not paid any real price for it. Trump and his gang of sycophants are willing to make any excuse for his malfeasance, at seemingly any cost. One wonders what exactly would induce a member of Donald Trump’s rabid core to relinquish their support for the candidate: rape, treason, murder? The fact that most would hesitate, however briefly, before answering that question signals that this is not a routine election, and that a large segment of the population believe this to be an existential crisis.
Trump’s most recent scandal, in which he was caught on tape making thoroughly indecorous comments about women, was met with so little apprehension and opposition by his constituents that almost any subsequent opinion of theirs on anything of importance can be largely considered irrelevant.
I did try and fuck her. She was married. And I moved on her very heavily, in fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, ‘I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.’ I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn’t get there. And she was married, then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look…when you’re a star, women let you do anything…grab them by the pussy. – Donald J. Trump
A superficial, half-hearted apology was all some people needed to hear before remounting their “Make America Great Again” hats and purging the issue completely from their conscience. Even the sentiment amongst many of Trump’s women supporters is mild and forgiving; apparently anything goes once it is branded “locker room talk.” Some have even taken the next step and decided to lambaste and ostracize any person (Republicans in particular) who condemns Trump for his misconduct. Upon receiving word of this scandal, Republican Sen. John McCain publicly rescinded his support for the candidate, only to be inundated with contempt by other members of his own party.
Many of Trump’s public talking heads, including Sean Hannity, Rudy Giuliani, and Jeanine Pirro, rightly acknowledged his wrongdoing, but aptly deflected the attention onto Hillary, drawing parallels to Bill Clinton’s lascivious tendencies, the comments Hillary made towards his mistresses and alleged rape victims in the past, and a litany of other allegations.
The phrase “words versus actions” was repeatedly used to highlight the idea that, while Trump’s cavalier banter about his sexual conquests was wrong and unbecoming, they were just words — Bill Clinton used actions. Apart from the fact that Bill Clinton is not running for office, and was never convicted of any sexual misconduct, the difference between these two things is so obvious that explaining it is almost patronizing. To say that a presidential candidate boasting about making aggressive sexual advances towards women is equivalent to an affair is patently misguided, and to say that the accusations of rape against Bill Clinton make him more culpable than Trump, who has been accused of sexual inappropriateness by at least ten women, is to hold a double standard. Furthermore, Bill Clinton was indicted and eventually impeached as a result of his misconduct; sexually and otherwise. Had this happened to Bill Clinton during his candidacy, he would have swiftly been removed from the political scene and drifted into obscurity, whether or not he had committed perjury and been convicted. But alas, Donald Trump’s standing amongst his supporters has proven more resilient than expected.
Luckily, however, it is in fact Hillary Clinton running for president — not Bill — so any mention of Mr. Clinton’s behavior in the context of Donald Trump’s mishap is extraneous. Moreover, any mention of Hillary Clinton’s emails, Benghazi, or dealing with foreign countries in the context of Donald Trump’s mishap is also extraneous, and a transparently abject attempt to divert attention.
The moral outrage over this scandal has, for the most part, been appropriate. Many public figures, schools and universities, and other prominent politicians have made their disapproval well-known and retracted their endorsement. There still however remains a group of people desperate to stand by Trump at any cost.
It is time to stop making excuses for Donald Trump and reject him for everything that he has proven himself to be. Trump has already squandered enough of our time and energy. His supporters should come to grips with the fact that they have put their faith in a man who has done nothing but lie and willfully mislead the electorate, and is cheap in every sense of the word. We need a leader who can settle our differences and coalesce the civilized world to solve real problems. Our freedom and democracy have been hard-won hitherto, and to hand them over to a blustering demagogue whose only motivation is to feed his insatiable self-image would be tragic. Our country and the world deserve someone better.