I see a new low about President Donald Trump with the recent testimony of former FBI Director James Comey.
Prior to the election, we knew that Trump was a predator when it involved women. In October 2016, voters saw the video of Trump and Billy Bush where Trump discussed his approach to women. He said: "I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it, you can do anything ... grab them by the ...." Think about this. First, there is the lack of respect for women. Women are objects to be grabbed, taken advantage of, played with. They are weak-minded and will accept such treatment. Next, Trump was describing an assault, which is a felony crime, and bragging about it. Next, he shows a sense of entitlement because he is famous (possibly also because he is white, male). He also seems to believe that all famous men can act this way. There are so many things wrong with this.
This revelation came out in the same month in which Congressman Bill Huizenga shared a stage with Trump in Michigan to help win this state for him. As Huizenga becomes more and more famous, with each election and serving on whatever committee will bring him fame, will he think that he can get away with such behavior? His support of Trump means something. Is this a part of it?
So women should feel apprehensive being alone in a room with Trump. They could be assaulted. They would have a very difficult time reporting the assault. Who would believe them? What kind of retribution will be unleashed upon them if they do report?
We knew this already.
What we see from the Comey testimony is at least one man was apprehensive of being in a room alone with Trump. Not “weak-minded,” Comey was the Director of the FBI at the time. He was the man who stood up to the George W. Bush Administration over domestic surveillance. He served in public prosecutorial or criminal investigatory jobs since 1985 in various capacities. And yet, Trump had no compunction in his actions to isolate Comey, demand loyalty, “hope” for the end of an investigation and then, when Comey did not “come across” for Trump, he fired Comey.
Comey was asked why he did not object immediately to this treatment. Comey responded that he was stunned by the unseemly treatment by Trump. He had never seen anything like this before. Comey did take steps quickly, however. He reduced the events to detailed notes. He reviewed them with associates. Perhaps he took other actions in an attempt to challenge the predatory nature of Trump’s approach to him.
I cannot help but compare this to the treatment of women who are harassed in the workplace or elsewhere. I wonder if Anita Hill will again be remembered as an icon of sexual harassment connected with now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Perhaps she will again be criticized for not reporting those incidents early. While the predatory actions by the perpetrators are similar, the positions of the recipients of such treatment could not be more different. Most women do not have the position of power enjoyed by Comey. He was a white man, first of all. He also held prominent positions of authority for years before these incidents with Trump. He had a formidable structure of support and the tools to handle it. He still lost his job, mind you, which is no small penalty. But he is coming out of this with flying colors, where Anita Hill, and many others like her, live with continued questions about their character.
The comparison of Comey’s situation to female victims of sexual harassment was addressed in a recent opinion piece in the New York Times. The writer used the piece to show solidarity with Comey and ended with her expression of belief in what Comey said in his testimony.
What we are left with, however, is that Comey is still out of a job and Trump retains his, at least for now. And anyone around Trump has to worry about what he is going to do to them if they do not pledge loyalty and put up with whatever bad behavior he inflicts upon them. In any other context, Trump would be called a creep. He is a threat to anyone who works with him. How do people justify support of such a man who treats people in this way?
— Marcia Meoli is a Holland attorney and resident. Contact her at Meolimarcia@gmail.com.