“People Expect It": Media Downplay NY Times Report On Trump’s Treatment Of Women

Media are downplaying a New York Times article about Trump’s treatment of women, which reports that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee “could be lewd one moment and gentlemanly the next,” arguing that the story is “obvious” and that it’s “not disabling” because Trump “is a different kind of candidate.”  

NY Times Publishes Piece Titled “Crossing The Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women In Private”

NY Times: “Interviews Reveal Unwelcome Advances, A Shrewd Reliance On Ambition, And Unsettling Workplace Conduct Over Decades.” The New York Times published a piece describing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s interactions with women as “degrading, impersonal, [and] performed.” The Times conducted “more than 50 interviews … over the course of six weeks,” which revealed that Trump “simultaneously nurtured women’s careers and mocked their physical appearance.” From the Times’ May 14 report:

Donald Trump and women: The words evoke a familiar cascade of casual insults, hurled from the safe distance of a Twitter account, a radio show or a campaign podium. This is the public treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president: degrading, impersonal, performed. “That must be a pretty picture, you dropping to your knees,” he told a female contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” Rosie O’Donnell, he said, had a “fat, ugly face.” A lawyer who needed to pump milk for a newborn? “Disgusting,” he said.

But the 1990 episode at Mar-a-Lago that Ms. Brewer Lane described was different: a debasing face-to-face encounter between Mr. Trump and a young woman he hardly knew. This is the private treatment of some women by Mr. Trump, the up-close and more intimate encounters.

The New York Times interviewed dozens of women who had worked with or for Mr. Trump over the past four decades, in the worlds of real estate, modeling and pageants; women who had dated him or interacted with him socially; and women and men who had closely observed his conduct since his adolescence. In all, more than 50 interviews were conducted over the course of six weeks.

Their accounts — many relayed here in their own words — reveal unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct, according to the interviews, as well as court records and written recollections. The interactions occurred in his offices at Trump Tower, at his homes, at construction sites and backstage at beauty pageants. They appeared to be fleeting, unimportant moments to him, but they left lasting impressions on the women who experienced them.

What emerges from the interviews is a complex, at times contradictory portrait of a wealthy, well-known and provocative man and the women around him, one that defies simple categorization. Some women found him gracious and encouraging. He promoted several to the loftiest heights of his company, a daring move for a major real estate developer at the time.

He simultaneously nurtured women’s careers and mocked their physical appearance. “You like your candy,” he told an overweight female executive who oversaw the construction of his headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. He could be lewd one moment and gentlemanly the next. [The New York Times, 5/14/16]

Media Downplay Negative Accounts In The Story: “It's Donald Trump ... People Expect It”

Fox’s Tucker Carlson: Trump Is “Creepy Around Women,” But He Also Promotes Them.  Fox’s Tucker Carlson said Trump is “creepy around women,” but then wrote it off, saying,  “But we also learned that Trump  promotes women more aggressively than Hillary Clinton does.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends Sunday, 5/15/16]

Morning Joe: “It’s Donald Trump … People Expect It.” The panel on MSNBC’s Morning Joe downplayed the Times story. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said he “kept reading” the piece because “I was trying to figure out, what did he do?” and Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin noted that the Times story revealed “nothing illegal” or “nothing even kind of like beyond boorish or politically incorrect.” Then Mike Barnicle said that “you wouldn’t want it occurring to your daughter by a guy, but it’s Donald Trump [and] people expect it.” From the May 16 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe:

JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): What's the worst allegation of this explosive front-page story? Name it.

MARK HALPERIN: I will comment on this in the spirit of Reince Priebus. If that's the best they got on these issues and Donald Trump, Donald Trump should be celebrating that story. There's some troubling things in the piece, but there's nothing illegal, there's nothing even kind of like beyond boorish or politically incorrect, which is built into the Donald Trump brand. So, if that's the best they have in this score, Donald Trump can celebrate this story politically.

SCARBOROUGH: So Mike Barnicle, I've got two stories -- and I did, I kept reading it. Because I was trying to figure out, what did he do? Because that's the lawyer in me -- OK, let's tear through it. And you tear through all the documents and then you go, OK, they did this, they did this. I have two things. When he met somebody, he kissed them on the lips as a greeting. I will tell you --

MIKA BRZEZINSKI (CO-HOST): Donny does that to you all the time.

SCARBOROUGH: That's not a pleasant thing, but I'm serious, in the thousands and thousands and thousands of receptions I've had before, people have come up, women have come up and -- of all ages -- and kissed me on the lips. I don't like it, I wish they wouldn't have, but I wouldn't have run to The New York Times when they did it.

HALPERIN: And he denies it.

SCARBOROUGH: And he even denies it. And secondly, that he gave a woman a bathing suit to try on. I kid you not. That's the story.

MIKE BARNICLE: That was the lead, probably.

SCARBOROUGH: He gave a woman a bathing suit to try on. Now, when this was unfolding, I expected that she was going to try it on in front of him and then he was going to -- instead he goes, you look really good in that.

BARNICLE: Here's the deal on Donald Trump and that story.

SCARBOROUGH: I'm sorry, that's -- if this is their lead story on Sunday, explosive, above the fold, especially considering who he is running against, it's breathtaking.

BARNICLE: It's about 7,500 twills, that's an old of typewritten lines from the newspaper business, of things that are totally not surprising, because they have to do with Donald Trump. It's boorish behavior, you wouldn't want it occurring to your daughter by a guy, but it's Donald Trump. And when it comes to Donald Trump, it comes with the dinner. People expect it, they know it, they're not surprised. They're not even offended.

SCARBOROUGH: What is the most offensive thing that Donald Trump did in that piece?

HALPERIN: I think the most offensive thing, if true, is some of the comments he made in the workplace to his employees. [MSNBC, Morning Joe, 5/16/16]

WSJ’s Seib: “Those Things Are Not Disabling For Donald Trump Because He Is A Different Kind Of Candidate.” The Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Seib argued that while the Times story would be “disabling for other candidates,” it’s “not disabling for Donald Trump because he is a different kind of candidate.” From the May 16 edition of CBS’ CBS This Morning:

GAYLE KING (HOST): Do you think [the Times story] causes any damage to him, back to Charlie's question?

GERALD SEIB: Well, you know, I think there's something to what Reince Priebus said, which is that basically, this is a different kind of candidate. I think the potential for damage is definitely there, but there's also the potential that the kinds of things that used to be disabling for other candidates, things that would have been disqualifying in terms of controversies or statements that create a furor, I think those things are not disabling for Donald Trump because he is a different kind of candidate. We’ll see long run, and I think this is the issue, is there a corrosive effect from these kinds of stories? [CBS, CBS This Morning, 5/16/16]

Washington Times’ Kelly Riddell: “Bombshell. A Man Who Used To Own Pageants Wanted His Contestants To Be Pretty And Skinny. I Mean, Is This Really News?” Washington Times columnist and commentary writer Kelly Riddell asked if the Times story was “really news,” because Trump is just “a man who used to own pageants [who] wanted his contestants to be pretty and skinny.” She continued that “we already knew this about Donald Trump. A lot of it has been reported” and that “people who like him will find excuses” for him. From the May 15 edition of Fox News’ Media Buzz:  

KELLY RIDDELL: Bombshell. A man who used to own pageants wanted his contestants to be pretty and skinny. I mean, is this really news? I mean, we already knew this about Donald Trump. A lot of it has been reported. He wanted to have a playboy image, and that's what he put out in the early '90s. So, yeah, some of this is coming back to haunt him, but like Heidi said, people who like him will find excuses -- he promoted some of the women to the highest ranks 20 years ago in the construction business. [Fox News, Media Buzz, 5/15/16]