Behold: On “Fox & Friends” this morning, we heard about a host’s deep friendship with Donald Trump. No, this wasn’t Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity or Steve Doocy or even former Fox News chief Roger Ailes.
“As a woman, first of all, let me say this: I know Donald Trump for 30 years. We socialized with him,” said host Jeanine Pirro, host of “Justice with Judge Jeanine” regarding Friday’s bombshell that Trump had said misogynistic things in a 2005 chat with then-“Access Hollywood” personality Billy Bush. “I have been involved in a million situations with him and his children. He has always been a gentleman.”
The former prosecutor and judge hadn’t completed her endorsement. “I didn’t meet him once or twice. I know the man, and I can speak as a woman who has fought for battered women, I have crusaded for women my whole career to level the playing field for women who are victims of crime.” With those bona fides established, Pirro went on to clarify that she’d abandoned them: “And I can tell you unequivocally that whatever that locker-room talk or whatever that frat-house language was, honestly — most Americans get it. Women talk about things and men talk about things. And you know what? It’s a shame that it’s out there, and if there’s more of to come, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
To count the depravities at hand: 1) It remains well documented that Trump has not always been a gentleman, regardless of the act he may have been sustaining in Pirro’s company; 2) Uh, we know precisely what the locker-room talk was — it was horrific and misogynistic; 3) If “women talk about things” in similar fashion, does that mean that Pirro has used similar language in private?; 4) Pirro says “it’s a shame that it’s out there,” suggesting that she’s bemoaning the leak more than the underlying problem; and, 5) If she’s so sure that Trump is a “gentleman,” why the lack of surprise that there’s more to come?
By this morning, Pirro had already practiced her pro-Trump apology points. After all, she appeared on her Saturday-night show with what appeared to be a condemnation of Trump, calling his comments on a hot mic “shameful and cringeworthy. The words are disgusting, devastating and embarrassing.” Yet: “I still without a doubt support Donald Trump.” Benghazi figured prominently in that formulation.
She also appeared on the Friday night edition of host Sean Hannity’s show. “You know what? It is locker-room,” said Hannity.
Picking up the thread, Pirro said, “You know, he apologized. And that was the right thing to do. It is offensive. It is insulting. It is demeaning, all that language. … He’s not only said words. She has done things that were illegal and that she now, I think the Department of Justice should reopen. He gets off the bus: The proof is in the putting — for all that banter between two high schoolers on a bus, he gets off the bus for this woman who’s so gorgeous, he gives her an air kiss. Nobody’s grabbing anybody, nobody’s touching anybody. … The man was in entertainment, he was in theater.”
Pirro and Hannity have a powerlifter’s task in front of them, which is to express outrage about Trump’s conduct and then to minimize and excuse it. All in a single breath. There’s a more cynical aspect to it as well, one that “Fox & Friends” exploited this morning with very little subtlety. In introducing the topic, co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked Pirro, “What did you think about his response to the hot mic, as a woman?”
As noted above, Pirro was careful to emphasize the capacity in which she was responding: “As a woman …” So make no mistake that this is a woman defending the gentlemanliness of Donald Trump.
Nor were Pirro’s comments even the most objectionable in this segment. Co-host Brian Kilmeade, keying off of Pirro’s womanly remarks, made a manly rejoinder: “Soon we’re going to all stop texting and talking to each other because it all could come back to bite us. Let’s stop communicating entirely.” Great idea — the Erik Wemple Blog has long advocated for the “Fox & Friends” crew to stop communicating entirely.