Updated at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 17, 2019
On the second day of the impeachment proceedings, President Donald Trump couldn’t control himself on Twitter: He lashed out at Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine who was subjected to a smear campaign, and who testified to that effect before the House Intelligence Committee. Trump’s lack of control, in itself, was not unusual. But, for some reason, Trump showed more restraint 48 hours earlier, when William Taylor and George Kent went before the Committee.* It was almost as if the president found himself triggered by Yovanovitch, the 61-year-old career diplomat. But why was the president’s response so different to witnesses who were roughly saying the same thing? What was the big difference between Kent and Taylor and Yovanovitch? All three are career diplomats, all three are Ivy League graduates, all three have worked in the State Department, all three are experts in Ukraine. But only one of them is a woman. Could that be why the president singled out Yovanovitch? It is almost as if the president is unable to control his rage against women. It is almost as if the president thinks he can bully women and silence them.
Calm and organized, emotional but not angry, Yovanovitch projected a kind of steady professionalism that silenced the room. It was too much for the leader of the free world to take. “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” he said on Twitter. “She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” He was defending what he called his “absolute right” to fire ambassadors, but he was also intimidating a witness—as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, duly noted. Even Fox News’s Bret Baier tweeted, “She was already a sympathetic witness & the president’s tweet ripping her allowed Schiff to point it out real time, characterizing it as witness tampering or intimidation—adding an article of impeachment real-time.”