O fellow women, let us be thankful for our most merciful and benevolent, most female-empowering president.
Yes, he may have defended accused wife beaters, female-subordinate harassers and even an alleged child molester in his orbit. Yes, in a Friday news conference about a White House aide accused of battering multiple ex-wives, he may have expressed sadness not for the victims but for the victimizer. He may not have even found time to make a bland, generic statement about how domestic violence is, you know, bad.
And, yes, even before two White House aides resigned over wife-battery allegations, President Trump faced an unusually large gender gap in approval ratings.
But leave all that aside. We know that this president truly celebrates women and promotes their safety and success because, duh, the economy is doing okay.
So sayeth the Oracle of Alternative Facts, Kellyanne Conway. Asked on ABC’s “This Week” why Trump expressed sympathy for Rob Porter but not the ex-wives he allegedly beat, and whether Trump thinks Porter is falsely accused, the counselor to the president responded that women should be grateful because we’ve gained a lot of jobs in the past year.
Here’s the transcript:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: …And then he talks about mere allegations, people being falsely accused. So let me ask you again, does the president believe that Rob Porter is falsely accused?
CONWAY: The president believes, as he said the other day, you have to consider all sides. He has said this in the past about incidents that relate to him as well. At the same time, you have to look at the results. The result is that Rob Porter is no longer the staff secretary. It is — it is — the president tells me that he learned just this week, when the rest of us did, what these allegations are, what — these pictures, the contemporaneous, police reports, the detailed information as having been provided to the FBI.
And we are all trying to process that against the person that we worked with for over a year. But this president has — I think he’s doing a great job for America’s women. We have to look at the full picture. You have 800,000 women took new jobs last year because of his leadership. You have women who work at over 300 companies now that are getting wages and benefits and capital investments happening within their own communities. We are a safer, more prosperous nation, that includes all of us, including the nation’s women because of Donald Trump’s leadership.
Lest you think that crass pivot away from domestic-abuse victims to job growth was accidental, note that she made very similar comments on CNN’s “State of the Union“:
JAKE TAPPER: Does President Trump believe the women? Does he believe the two women who have accused Rob Porter of abusing them?
CONWAY: The president is very disturbed by what he sees, absolutely.
And you can feel — look, you can feel that somebody did a great job for you. You can talk about somebody’s competence and work product and the person you worked with and you knew. And that’s what the president did the other — Friday in his statement.
And you could still feel horrified when you — you see pictures and — and contemporaneous reports. The president’s tweet yesterday was more generic.
TAPPER: About the MeToo movement.
CONWAY: It was talking about — well, no, he never said the MeToo movement, and he never said Rob Porter’s name. He is saying that some are old, some are new. … Some are, to use my words now, done contemporaneously. Some are done retrospectively. That probably wouldn’t fit in a tweet.
But that is different from what we see in the Porter situation, and that is different than the entire MeToo movement. And those trying to conflate the two — I see these Democrats out there criticizing and preening.
Let me remind them that this president is responsible for 800,000 women taking new jobs in 2017. He is responsible, he and his party, without a single Democratic vote to help, Jake, are responsible for over 300 companies now helping over three million workers, including a lot of women, get bonuses and raises and job security and other benefits and making capital investment, repatriating billions of dollars of wealth to this country.
In that same interview, Conway also said she wasn’t worried about Hope Hicks, who has been dating Porter, because Hicks is “strong” with “excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts.” As Tapper rightly pointed out, “strong women” can get abused, too.
Everything about this jobs talking point, in any case, is infuriating. First of all, presidents don’t actually control job growth (just as they don’t control stock markets or the economy).
But even if they did, Trump’s labor market hasn’t actually been all that impressive for women. More payroll jobs were added for women in the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency (average of 124,000 per month) than in the first year of Trump’s (average 83,000 per month, 86,000 if you want to extend through January).
An alternative measure of women’s labor market gains, which counts women employed rather than payroll jobs held by women, also shows stronger growth under Obama’s last year than Trump’s first year.
Perhaps that’s why, as my colleague Eugene Scott pointed out, 66 percent of women say Trump has not accomplished enough during his first year; only 15 percent say Trump’s actions have helped their family; and just 34 percent of women think Trump deserves a great deal/good amount of credit for the country’s current economic success.
But let’s get to the point. Even if hiring had been spectacular, and even if women were pleased with Trump’s economic record, in what universe does a paycheck make up for denying the basic humanity of an entire category of Americans?
I feel like Jay-Z might have something to say about that.