October is Bullying Prevention Month. How fitting that, on October 2, our Bully-in-Chief, Donald Trump, decided to mock Christine Blasey Ford, the victim of an alleged assault. Like all bullies, Trump relies on enablers to attack his victims. It’s so much more fun to have like-minded folks in on the joke. Remember, Dr. Ford was most haunted by the laughter during her attack.
In Trump’s case, he delivered a mocking attack on the woman he had previously called, “very compelling” and a “very credible witness.” His followers at the Mississippi rally we happy to egg him on in his cruel remarks with chants of “lock her up.” Where have we seen this show before?
Perhaps it was in November of 2015 when Trump mocked a disabled reporter, Serge Kovaleski, who suffers from arthrogryposis, a condition which limits the movement of joints and is particularly noticeable in Kovaleski’s right arm and hand. While he called him “a nice reporter,” Trump cruelly imitated him physically and said, “Now, the poor guy, you’ve got to see this guy: ‘Uhh, I don’t know what I said. Uhh, I don’t remember,’ he’s going like ‘I don’t remember. Maybe that’s what I said.’”
Or maybe I’m thinking of July of 2016 when Trump belittled Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Pakistani-American parents of Army Captain Humayun Khan, killed in 2004 during the Iraq War. Trump’s comment regarding these grieving parents, “If you look at his wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me.”
Even though I don’t admire Jeff Sessions, he has been the target of cruel bullying by Trump. According to Bob Woodward in his recent book Fear, Trump said of Sessions, “This guy is mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner…He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.”
There is nothing we can do to change Trump’s character. He’s a classic bully. He always used his power to intimidate, dominate, coerce, and abuse others. Now that he is president, his power extends far beyond his wealth and reality television fame. His targets or victims include those he sees as less than: people of color, immigrants and asylum seekers, the disabled, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, women, migrant children, and the press.
Like all bullies, Trump attracts his followers by playing to their fears. The #MeToo movement becomes, in his rhetoric, men being falsely accused of sexual harassment by a coven of female harpies, and possibly fired from their jobs. He tells his followers, “Think of your husbands. Think of your sons.” This is the same man who has been accused of sexual harassment by over twenty women, and has been caught on tape bragging about groping women. The same man who had affairs with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal right after his wife had given birth to his son Barron and then directed Michael Cohen to pay one to silence her had the National Enquirer buy and then bury the other’s story.
Trump has been a bully all of his life. In 1989, five men, four African American and one Hispanic, were accused of assaulting and raping a white woman jogging in Central Park. Although they were coerced into confessing, DNA evidence showed that they had not committed the crime. They spent between 6-13 years in prison until they were finally exonerated in 2002 when another man, whose DNA did match, confessed. Trump spent years persecuting these young men. He took out full page ads demanding they receive the death penalty. After the Central Park Five were exonerated, even after the City of New York settled a lawsuit to pay the men for their false imprisonment, nevertheless he persisted. He continued to harass them during his campaign for president.
Taking children from their parents who are coming to our country seeking asylum. Labeling the press the enemy of the people. Continuing to harass Hillary Clinton. Disrespecting President Obama. Belittling every opponent with demeaning labels. Turning us against one another due to differing political views, ethnicities, and now different genders. This man constantly demeans, ridicules, teases, humiliates, mocks, harasses, taunts, shames, attacks, and insults anyone who disagrees with him. He is the ultimate bully.
Melania Trump supposedly champions what she calls her “be best” campaign in which she urges children online to “choose words wisely and speak with respect and compassion.” Her personal platform was to discourage children from cyberbullying. Too bad, in honor of bullying prevention month, she can’t influence her child of a husband to stop being a bully, using his power and wealth to attack the weak and vulnerable.