When it comes to Donald Trump, Kristen Stewart is joining Megyn Kelly, women everywhere, and Skittles in getting the last laugh. In case you’re wondering whether you rage blacked out an entire election news cycle, don’t worry—K-Stew and D-Trump’s beef dates all the way back to 2012, when the aging real estate magnet decided to throw the full weight of his social media presence behind an oddly specific cause: convincing teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson to dump Stewart. In Donald’s words, “She will cheat again—100 certain—am I ever wrong?”
Of course, Trump is constantly wrong. So it’s no surprise that his vision of R-Patz humiliating his then-girlfriend and moving on to bigger and better things (choice quote: “If you saw the Miss Universe girls you would reconsider”) more or less backfired. But there’s an emphasis on that “more or less.” Although there are many documented instances of Trump being dead wrong, it’s much rarer to find a story of Trump just missing the mark. Examples include when the presidential candidate said “LGBT,” but somehow managed to pronounce the acronym like it was his very first time articulating the consonants L, G, B, and T. Or when he swore that he respects all women—a nice sentiment—only to have this statement swiftly invalidated by decades of anecdotal evidence. To give credit where credit is due, Trump was sort of right about K-Stew and R-Patz not being meant for each other. In this rare instance, he proved more rational than a battalion of tween Tumblr users—which, for Trump, still counts as an accomplishment.
Due to the gaping gender blind spot that helped crash the Trump campaign, and also due to the candidate’s very squinty eyes, Donald was only able to see exactly half the picture. With his well-documented dismissal of strong, talented women, Trump never would have predicted that Stewart, not Pattinson, would be the one to rise from the proverbial ashes. As Trump’s presidential aspirations enter the realm of Twilight-grade fantasy, Stewart has taken her newest relationship public. Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, is an extremely talented musician. From going on casual dates in the East Village to sitting together in a glamorous, star-studded front row, Clark and Stewart’s newfound bliss has played out like a Tegan and Sara-scored queer fever dream. And Stewart’s career—which Trump strangely failed to mention when he was railing against her infidelities—is better than ever. In fact, French filmmaker Olivier Assayas recently called the workaholic “the best actress of her generation.” Meanwhile, Pattinson is off somewhere organizing FKA twigs’ septum rings.
The strangest part of this whole story is the fact that Trump felt the need to comment on the young Twilight stars’ relationship in the first place. Imagine an incredibly intimate moment in your life—say, a steamy kiss with your married co-worker—being captured on camera and published in a tabloid. Imagine having to make a public apology to your partner, swearing to the entire world, “I love him, I love him, I'm so sorry.” Now imagine Donald Trump on the sidelines, eyes riveted and fingers furiously tweeting, loudly chowing down on a taco bowl. Aside from his lack of boundaries and shame, Trump’s insistence on dragging Stewart for cheating on her boyfriend “like a dog” revealed a new facet of the real estate tycoon: a strangely relatable, age-inappropriate obsession with the Twilight franchise.
While Trump’s insistence on commenting on the personal lives of young strangers remains deeply un-Presidential, his interest in Twilight is hardly inexplicable. Anyone who’s seen that picture of the uber-pale, dead-eyed Trump kids will be able to draw a few comparisons between the New York Trumps and the Forks Cullens. Like the Cullens, the wealthy Trump family seclude itself in a questionably decorated home due to the feeling of intense ickiness that they inspire among the general public.
The Twilight world would doubtlessly be appealing to Trump. Bella Swan’s gruesome labor process—in which a fetus is violently ripped from her womb, fully formed—closely aligns with Trump’s own, erroneous conception of late-term abortions. Plus, in Forks, Washington, there’s a supernatural boundary that physically separates the white people from ethnic minorities (technically because they’re wolves, but whatever). And if all that wasn’t reason enough, the Twilight cast’s unsettling pallor might be the rare instance of a makeup job that makes Donald Trump’s look good. Trump’s trademark bronze complexion might be a little over-toasted, but at least his makeup artist didn’t cake his face with white power, spritz some Victoria’s Secret body shimmer on his exposed abs and call it a day.
Twilight jokes aside, Trump’s ill-articulated frustration with Robert and Kristen’s relationship is just another example of him taking on an “unlikable woman”—and look how well that’s turning out. With all her recent personal and professional success, it’s easy to forget that Stewart previously approached Anne Hathaway levels of public hatred. Throughout her not-so-secret relationship with Pattinson, Stewart's behavior was often read as rude and unfriendly. During her Twilight Saga years, the young star was urged to “smile,” “enunciate” and “put on a little makeup.” While present day K-Stew isn’t exactly perky, it’s clear that her public demeanor at the time was more or less a product of her environment, particularly her Twilight insta-fame. As a far more open, confessional Stewart has since explained, “It was a really traumatic period in my early 20s that kick-started something in me that was a bit more feral…Between ages 15 and 20, it was really intense. I was constantly anxious.”
Given her difficultly adjusting to the spotlight, it follows that Stewart felt uncomfortable in her role as one half of a hyper-fetishized celebrity power couple. She later told Elle UK about the immense pressure the public put on her relationship: “We were turned into these characters and placed into this ridiculous comic book, and I was like, ‘That’s mine. You’re making my relationship something that it’s not.' I didn’t like that…I was hiding everything that I did because everything personal felt like it was immediately trivialized.” Unfortunately, her anxiety and stress was misread as ingratitude. Of course, the backlash to Stewart while she was in a relationship was nothing compared to the public ire she invoked by stepping out of it. Trump wasn’t the only internet troll bashing K-Stew for cheatingand urging Pattinson to kick her to the curb. As Stewart and Pattinson’s personal saga came to an end, it was easy to blame the perennially pouty Stewart, and root for her romantically wronged, adorably affable ex.
Stewart’s unexpected triumph post-Rob is all the sweeter for its originality. Stewart didn’t bounce back by becoming the bubbly starlet we expected her to be—she did it by working hard, outperforming her peers, and dating whoever the hell she wanted. Simply following her own instincts has led to spectacular results. While dating ex Alicia Cargile, Stewart had the epiphany that being secretive about her relationship could be read as being ashamed of her sexuality. In response to that revelation, “I had to alter how I approached being in public,” she explained. “It opened my life up and I’m so much happier.” Cargile and Stewart’s visibility helped normalize same sex relationships in Hollywood. And with Stewart and St. Vincent’s latest public appearance, we can rest assured that the star’s casually groundbreaking approach has carried over to her new relationship.
Between her romantic success and her recent slew of high profile performances—in Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Personal Shopper, and Certain Women, to name just a few—the universe is finally rewarding Stewart’s talent and individuality. So while Trump may have been right about the inevitability of Stewart and Pattinson’s breakup, he missed a few crucial details. Namely, the premise that K-Stew was weighing her boyfriend down—not the other way around.