Notoriously foul-mouthed Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women, but his hand-picked RNC chair teamed up with Fox News to complain about DNC chairman Tom Perez's language choices, right as Fox is suppressing its own latest sexual misconduct scandal.
Donald Trump, the de facto head of the Republican Party, is infamous for his obscene language, his terrible treatment of women, and for bragging about sexual assault. Yet members of his party are purporting to be shocked and offended about a colorful but accurate attack from Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez. And their laughable attempt is aided by Fox News, the unofficial media arm of the party with an extensive history of enabling the abuse of women, covering it up, and rewarding the men who do so.
Speaking to the New Jersey Working Families Alliance, Perez said that the people who showed up at the Women's March were telling Trump, "You don't stand for our values … You didn't win this election."
He added, "When it came to health care … he didn’t want to call it TrumpCare. What do we call it? TrumpCare. Do we call it RyanCare? Well, I'll tell you my idea because you know what embodies their program? I-don't-care. Because they don’t give a shit about people."
This was just too much for RNC chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, who issued a statement complaining, "Mr. Perez should apologize and Democrats should denounce the rhetoric coming from this new leader of their Party."
Romney McDaniel continued her quest for contrition in an appearance on Fox & Friends, Trump's favorite show on Fox News. Both McDaniel and the Fox hosts linked arms in fussing about Perez's comments.
Romney McDaniel said Perez's comments were "deeply concerning," and repeated her call for Democrats to "denounce" Perez, adding that his comments on Republicans and health care "should not be rhetoric that the head of the Democrat Party should be using."
Co-anchor Brian Kilmeade slammed Perez for "cursing" at "one of his first public appearances," complaining that Perez was not showing enough "class."
PEREZ: Donald Trump, you don't stand for our values. That's what they said. Donald Trump, you didn't win this election. When it came to health care, he didn't want "Trumpcare." So what do we call it? Trumpcare? Do we call it Ryancare? Well, I'll tell you my idea, because you know what embodies their program? "I don't care." Because they don’t give a shit about people.
DOOCY: Well, forget about going high. The new DNC chair Tom Perez says Donald Trump didn't win the election and Republicans don't care about people.
HUNTSMAN: Here to respond, RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel. Good to have you here.
ROMNEY MCDANIEL: Great to be here. Thanks for having me.
HUNTSMAN: A lot of anger coming from Tom Perez. What's your reaction?
ROMNEY MCDANIEL: Well, I think it's deeply concerning to see the head of the Democrat [sic] Party continue to try and delegitimize this election. Not only President Trump, who did win this election by a lot, but also the voters. Voters like people from Michigan and my state who were so concerned about jobs and the economy, and Donald Trump came and presented a vision, and the Democrats are continuing to ignore what the voters said on November. That they feel like this country is going in the wrong direction. And the anger he just showed and delegitimizing their voices is very concerning.
KILMEADE: Can I just underline the fact that is he cursing on one of his first public appearances? Terry McAuliffe, whether you agree with him or not, he was not handling it that way. Ed Gillespie and others who in this position should usually show a degree of class. Number two, this is the hand pick of President Obama. That's the one they pushed forward. So he represents his school of thought, don't you think?
ROMNEY MCDANIEL: Yeah, and I think Democrats should be denouncing his behavior this weekend. To say that Republicans don't give a blank about people, that should not be rhetoric that the head of the Democrat [sic] Party should be using. And he keeps talking about resist, and not working with the president. Are they going to resist better jobs? Are they going to resist a better economy? Are they going to resist better national security? President Trump continues to reach out to Democrats. He is saying let's work together. We have to solve some big problems. This is the leader of the Democrat [sic] Party basically saying we're not going to work with you on anything.
Both the RNC and Fox News have stood behind Trump, even when his comments bragging that he can "grab [women] by the pussy" emerged. They did not demand condemnation or a reprimand for Trump after he launched his campaign by calling Mexicans "rapists," nor were there mass defections from the right when Trump said he would "bomb the shit out of" ISIS, or that companies exporting jobs can "go fuck themselves."
Fox News has a long pattern of standing with Trump and other men accused of assaulting women. While they were building up Trump's presidential aspirations, the network was under the absolute control of its founder Roger Ailes, who was exposed and ultimately forced out of the company for sexually harassing more than 20 female employees.
Similarly, the network's highest rated and most well known on-air personality, Bill O'Reilly, has a history of sexual misconduct, and new allegations recently surfaced about Fox and its parent company quietly paying a total of $13 million to settle claims against O'Reilly. At the same time the network was hosting the RNC chair to throw stones at Perez, it was doing its best to suppress those allegations about O'Reilly's behavior under wraps by only airing one mention of the claims.
And the fact is, Perez is right: The immediate, massive protest following Trump's poorly attended inauguration was a sign of how badly he had done in the election, earning far fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. And his health care plan plainly did not care about people, as it would have stripped health insurance from 24 million.
Romney McDaniel was Trump's hand-selected party chair, while Fox News has been a Trump booster since before he launched his campaign. Their sudden concern about tough political language betrays everything they have supported in Trump (and in Fox's case, as an institution). Their so-called concern is a sign that Perez's unflinching comments landed a rhetorical punch to the GOP's hypocrisy — or else they would not be pushing back so forcefully.