It is with deep regret that I report Donald Trump, Junior has unwisely barged into the #MeToo conversation. Like most things Junior says, his insight into the sexual misconduct epidemic only further solidifies his status as The Dumb One in the Trump family—quite a feat, since they all seem pretty stupid except for Ivanka, who is smart like how an out-of-shape middle schooler competing in a race against a toddler is fast.
Most of Junior’s stupidity is benign, like the time he used a photo of his small daughter holding Halloween candy to make a stupid point about socialism and then spent the next few days getting owned on Twitter. But his latest dipshittery—crowing about sexual misconduct allegations against members of the media and prominent Democrats while ignoring the more than a dozen more serious allegations against his own father, the fucking president—is flat out destructive.
Junior’s weaponizing of #MeToo hurts women, completely misses the point, and risks undermining a tectonic shift in societal attitudes towards harassment in the workplace.
There is a helpful and unhelpful way to react to the waterfall of sexual misconduct allegations against powerful men. The most helpful thing men, and everybody in a position of power, can do is some basic soul-searching. Men should be thinking about how they have treated women and workplace leaders should be assessing how they treat men who treat women poorly. Organizations with problems should identify the extent of the problem, its causes, and how to prevent the problem from occurring again. Individuals should take women’s claims of sexual harassment seriously. Everybody should aim to do better.
The unhelpful way to respond to the #MeToo moment is what Junior is doing: cheering accusations against men with whom he disagrees like a roided up meathead yelling about the Eagles. He’s tweeted and retweeted about Michigan Democrat John Conyers a handful of times. Conyers stands accused of sexual harassment or other misconduct by three women, two of whom are named. One woman alleges that Conyers stuck his hand up her skirt on a car ride—a form of sexual assault that Donald Trump Jr. once joked he’d like to perform and get away with by pretending to be gay. (Like most of his jokes, this 2012 missive directive at Clay Aiken is somewhat inscrutable.)
It’s not just Conyers, though, who Junior seems eager to exploit. On Wednesday morning, he also tweeted about Sen. Al Franken (D-MN); or, rather, how he’d “love to be a fly on the wall as the HuffPost has to write these article about” about the women who have accused Franken of grabbing their butts in photo lines.
And why? What purpose does this ultimately serve? Who does that help? This isn’t about fucking politics. This is about something that has been happening to women since the beginning of time. Junior has absolutely no self-awareness on this issue. He’s not trying to understand why it happened or how to stop it. He’s cheering about it. (Apropos of nothing, isn’t Junior supposed to be running the Trump corporation? Who’s cutting deals with despots, stiffing contractors, and grappling with flagging occupancy rates while Junior is tweeting?)
Of course, the half-ripe apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here. President Trump has taken a similar tack. Accusations against his opponents present political opportunities. Those directed at him or people he supports are simply not to be believed, even if more than a dozen women or contemporaries have taken the immense risk of telling their stories publicly. He supports Roy Moore, but condemns Harvey Weinstein. He, like his idiot son, believes women, but only those who say things that he wants to be true.
It’s tempting, of course, to respond to all this by wailing about how President Trump is hopelessly compromised on this issue given his own history; or to dig in on Junior’s own personal life to see if some past issue of misconduct or as-yet-unreported fuckery delivers to us a heaping of richly-deserved schadenfreude.
And those elements are certainly important. But they also miss the broader point.
#MeToo isn’t about owning the libs or conservatives, or sticking it to any group. It’s not about winning an argument. It’s about identifying and eradicating a problem, and that can only be achieved through introspection, something Junior has never shut up for long enough to do.