The president invited women to the White House for a Women's Empowerment Panel, and it went as well as you would expect from the unapologetic misogynist-in-chief.
Donald Trump — who has opposed equal pay, insulted women’s appearances countless times over the years, and most horrifically, was exposed, on a tape revealed during the 2016 election, bragging about sexual assault — was in fine form at his Women’s Empowerment Panel at the White House.
Without a trace of irony, the president “educated” the female audience about two of America’s greatest heroines, Harriet Tubman (“She was very, very courageous — believe me”) and Susan B. Anthony. But as the wonder in his voice betrayed, while he read from his prepared remarks, it seemed he was only just learning about them himself:
We’ve been blessed with courageous heroes like Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery, and went on to deliver hundreds of others to freedom — first in the Underground Railroad, and then as a spy for the Union Army. She was very, very courageous — believe me.
And we’ve had leaders like Susan B. Anthony — have you heard of Susan B. Anthony? I’m shocked that you’ve heard of her — who dreamed of a much more equal and fair future, an America where women themselves, as she said, helped to make laws and elect the lawmakers. And that’s what happening, more and more. Tough competition out there, I wanna tell you.
If Trump truly wanted to empower women, he has many options. He could fight to preserve — rather than eliminate — their access to safe, legal health care at Planned Parenthood and through the Affordable Care Act. He could advocate for stronger equal pay laws. He could support a family leave policy that would benefit low- and middle-income parents, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status — as opposed to the vague plan floated by his daughter during the election that would primarily benefit wealthier married women.
But given Trump’s agenda and his abominable record on women, he is the last person who could claim to be empowering them, and certainly the last person who should even “joke” about what women’s knowledge and understanding of the women who led the resistances of the past against men like Trump.