Donald Trump defended his habit of publicly ridiculing women’s looks, arguing that it has entertainment value. Trump, who made the comment during an interview with an NBC affiliate in Las Vegas before giving a speech there Wednesday evening, seemed to claim that as long as mocking women is funny, it’s a fine way to grab headlines and ramp up ratings.
“You have two beautiful daughters past their teenage years,” the reporter said. “Can you understand the concern from parents of younger girls that some of your comments could be hurtful to girls struggling with body image and the pressure to be model-perfect?” Trump responded, “A lot of that was done for the purpose of entertainment. There’s nobody that has more respect for women than I do.”
Much of Trump’s public persona over the years has been shaped by his comments about women. He wanted to fire women from one of his golf courses because they weren’t hot enough. He made degrading comments about women in regular appearances on the shock jock Howard Stern’s show in the 1990s and 2000s and in public speeches where he boasted about hiring women for their looks. In last week’s presidential debate, his fat-shaming of Miss Universe Alicia Machado became a campaign issue.
But Trump’s claim that his comments about women over the years were just for entertainment is undermined by the fact that they weren’t limited to his public appearances. He didn’t just shame Machado in front of the cameras; he also allegedly called her “Miss Piggy” in private. He commented when female executives in the Trump organization gained weight. On the set of The Apprentice, he talked about the women contestants’ appearances when the cameras weren’t rolling. He once reportedly asked a Miss Universe whether she thought his then-16-year-old daughter, Ivanka, was hot. He passed the 1993 White House Correspondents Dinner talking to a model seated next to him about “the ‘tits’ and legs of the other female guests and asking how they measured up to those of other women, including his wife.”
Perhaps when Trump says “a lot of that was for entertainment,” he just means he personally found it entertaining.