The Trump Rule: His History of Sexism

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Fresh off the allegations that Donald Trump's various "birther" and affirmative action conspiracies about President Obama were racist, now the spotlight is being shone on Trump's long history of sexist, if not downright sleazy, comments about women.

In a column for the Washington Post, Anna Holmes brings up the "Trump Rule," as described by beauty queen Carrie Prejean, in her book about the Miss USA pageant. According to Prejean, the Miss USA pageant had a requirement that contestants parade in front of pageant owner Donald Trump so he could separate out those he found sexually appealing from those he did not.

“Many of the girls found this exercise humiliating,” Prejean wrote. “Some of the girls were sobbing backstage after [Trump] left, devastated to have failed even before the competition really began . . . even those of us who were among the chosen couldn’t feel very good about it — it was as though we had been stripped bare.”

This is not the only incident of Trump's blatant focus on the physical attributes of women over other qualities. Indeed, the list goes on and on. Gail Collins recently wrote a column in which she reminisced about how Trump once sent her a copy of her column with the words “Face of a Dog!” scrawled on top of her picture. Trump was accused of asking the men on “The Apprentice” to rate their female peers, based on appearance. He disparaged actress Angelina Jolie for having too many sexual partners. Perhaps creepiest of all, Trump even once said of his daughter Ivanka Trump, “She does have a very nice figure . . . if [she] weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

Accusations of sexism had followed Trump long before he came back into the spotlight for the 2012 election. As Erin O'Brien wrote in a 2005 article on "The Apprentice," saying that "Donald Trump might be sexist is like saying the sky might be blue."

But now that Trump is positioning himself as a political figure, his sexist comments are not merely distasteful, but deeply troubling, according to Holmes, as evidenced by his recent declaration of himself as an enemy of abortion rights. So what does this mean for his campaign?

Perhaps this legacy of unapologetically gleeful misogyny — not his reputedly shady business practices or his absurd questions about President Obama’s birthplace — will end up being Trump’s electoral Achilles’ heel.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.