Hang in there, folks. We’re gonna weather the final 13 days of this thing with the help of coffee, Zoloft, chocolate, yoga, wine, weed, whatever the heck it takes.
But in the meantime, we’ve still gotta put up with the sick spectacles that plague us daily — like the fight that broke out last night on Fox News, when Trump harrumpher Newt Gingrich sought to convince Megyn Kelly, via his bullying bluster and invective, that the sexual assault allegations voiced on the record by 10 women are not worthy of belief or media coverage.
If Trump’s advisers truly think they can stop the mass exodus of women voters by putting Newt on TV to insult a woman journalist who’s asking about sexual assault, then clearly they must’ve earned their strategy degrees from Trump University.
It has long been obvious that Trump gets his surrogates from the Republican C-team — a motley collection of has-beens (Newt, Rudy Giuliani), pols without a future (Chris Christie), and nutcase laugh objects (Jeffrey Lord, Roger Stone) — but Newt is arguably Exhibit A. Especially considering the task he undertook on Fox last night. The vicious exchange with Kelly vertitably encapsulated the Trump campaign as it circles the drain.
It’s worth watching the whole thing, but the fesitivites began when Kelly brought up the Hollywood Access tape and the subsequent surfacing of 10 women who allege that Trump is “a sexual predator.” That’s when Newt went bonkers: “He’s not a sexual predator! You can’t say that! I’m sick and tired of people like you using language that is inflammatory! It’s not true!”
Newt, in translation: All those women are all liars. Period.
Kelly, keeping her cool: “I think that your defensiveness on this may speak volumes, sir.”
He tried to interrupt (Trump surrogates are seemingly schooled on that tactic), but she pushed back: “No no no, let me make my point … If Mr. Trump is a sexual predator, then it is a big story. And what we saw on that tape was Trump himself saying he likes to grab women by their genitals and kiss them against their will. That’s what we saw. And then we saw 10 women come forward after he denied actually doing it … As a media story, we don’t get to say that the 10 women are lying. We have to cover that story, sir.”
Newt, moments later, with the line of the night: “You are fascinated with sex, and you don’t care about public policy!”
OK, here’s the thing. It was thigh-slappingly hilarious that Newt Gingrich, of all people — in the throes of damage control for his damaged candidate — was accusing a media figure of being “fascinated with sex.”
This is the same guy who, as House Speaker, put public policy on ice in 1998, preferring instead to lead his Republican chamber in a year-long impeachment crusade that hinged on what President Clinton had said and done in the realm of sex. Indeed, Newt himself was so personally fascinated with sex that at the very same time he was prosecuting Clinton over sex, he was having sex on the side (unbenownst to his second wife) with the woman who would later become his third wife.
Oh, one other thing: Someone should teach Newt that there’s a big difference between sex and assault.
By the way, the 1998 electorate was so turned off by his impeachment crusade that in the November midterms, Republicans lost House seats and Newt was forced to quit the speakership. (He also quit his seat. He hasn’t exercised a scintilla of power ever since.) But hey, he still retains the honorific title, which Kelly dutifully used when she spoke next:
“You know what, Mr. Speaker, I’m not fascinated by sex, but I am fascinated by the protection of women and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office and I think the American voters would like to know—”
Whereupon Newt accused her of wanting to send Bill Clinton “back to the East Wing.” (For Newt, Bill Clinton is the great white whale that he has spent 20 years trying in vain to harpoon.) Whereupon Kelly tried again to school him on the validity of the sexual assault story: “The poll numbers show us that the women of America in particular are very concerned about these allegations, and in large part believe that they are a real issue, and they don’t dismiss the women summarily.”
Newt interrupted to insist that the Democratic ticket “has a relation to a sexual predator.” Kelly pointed out (“excuse me sir,” four times) that Fox News has spent considerable air time on the allegations about Bill, but the bottom line is, “he’s not on the ticket. And the polls show that the American public is less interested in the deeds of Hillary Clinton’s husband than the deeds of the man who is asking us to make him president, Donald Trump.”
Then came the priceless Kelly bye bye: “We’re going to have to leave it at that. And you can take your anger issues and spend some time working on them, Mr. Speaker.”
Did we ever imagine that a Republican presidential campaign would clash so heatedly with Fox News? And that, in fact, a Republican apparatchik — Trump social media director Dan Scavino — would respond to the clash by tweeting a not-so-veiled threat, a threat that perfectly encapsulates the nominee’s ‘tude? With respect to Megyn Kelly, he typed, “Watch what happens to her after this election is over.”
Please. Make. It. Stop.
Wait, I forgot Newt’s piece de resistance:
“Republicans are outvoting Democrats in Pennsylvania. They’re outvoting the Democrats in early voting.”
Um, blowhard? Pennsylvania doesn’t have early voting.