Megyn Kelly did not soften or in any way mince words. In the early part of Thursday's GOP debate, she confronted Donald Trump with his own words -- you know, various little comments he's made about and to women over the years.
If Trump were to become the GOP's eventual nominee, the comments, Kelly said, could leave him and his party vulnerable to claims that he is an active participant in the Democratic Party-alleged GOP "war on women."
Their exchange follows:
KELLY: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don't use a politician's filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women.
You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.
Your Twitter account...
TRUMP: Only Rosie O'Donnell.
KELLY: No, it wasn't.
Your Twitter account...
TRUMP: Thank you.
KELLY: For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell.
TRUMP: Yes, I'm sure it was.
KELLY: Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who was likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?
TRUMP: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.
I've been challenged by so many people, and I don't frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time either.
So that happened. But who the heck was Trump talking to when he made each one of those comments?
The first is, at this point, well known, thanks to Trump's response in the Thursday night debate. Trump has referred to comedian and talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell as a "fat pig" -- among other pejoratives -- more than once. The two have tangled in public for some time. And Trump went back to that same language well during the debate.
In response, the often-combative O'Donnell tweeted a reminder that she wasn't the only one who heard what Trump said.
try explaining that 2 ur kids
— Rosie (@Rosie) August 7, 2015
In 2007, Trump also referred to O'Donnell as a "degenerate," a "slob" and a "pig" in a single speech. Here's the video.
On the matter of of the most squirm-inducing comment of all on Kelly's list -- the "on your knees" reference -- there's video. During a sitdown with contestants on "The Apprentice," Trump essentially stopped the faux business at hand to make what can only be described as a bawdy comment.
Contestant Brande Roderick's response is a bit hard to characterize, since she quickly turns away and toward the person trying to discuss the "serious" business of the contest. Still, Trump said it. He said it within the confines of the "The Apprentice," but on-tape doing one of his very real and former paying jobs.
Just last month, a lawyer taking a deposition from Trump said that Trump described her as "disgusting" for attempting to take a prearranged and carefully-timed break for pumping breast milk. The milk was, as the lawyer told CNN, "my baby's food."
And, there have been other incidents.
In tweets sent last year, Trump described Huffington Post editor Arianna Huffington as "a dog."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2015
For good measure, Trump added that Huffington is "ugly both inside and out!" and some other things.
In 2012, Trump told his Twitter followers that the actress and singer Bette Midler "...kisses my [behind]. She's disgusting."
One year earlier, New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote in that paper about a note she received from Trump after she wrote about his financial challenges. The note, written in true Trump form on a print-out of that very same column, consisted of a circle drawn around Collins' face and these words: “The Face of a Dog!”
Perhaps not surprisingly, the feminist news and commentary site Jezebel has examined this particular Trump pattern. We've selected just one highlight from their haul. (But, if the issue of Trump and sexism interests you, give the entire piece a read.)
In 2010, a woman who also appeared on "The Apprentice" told The New York Post, that Trump not only made those sorts of comments in his workplace; he encouraged others to do the same. This is what the contestant told the New York Post.
So much of the boardroom discussion concerned the appearance of the female contestants — discussing the female contestants' looks, who he found to be hot. He asked the men to rate the women. He went down the line and asked the guys, 'Who's the most beautiful on the women's team?'
The reality is that women do face the kind of comments that Kelly included in her question at work, online and, of course, walking down the street. The degree to which these comments are sexist or even misogynistic is going to be the subject of some debate. But here are a few ideas to consider.
If a man's response to a disagreement with a woman includes commentary on her appearance, apropos of nothing else in the discussion, prepare, at the very least, for some people to regard that response as sexist. The same goes for statements that connect a woman's appearance with her competency, authority or abilities -- unless you happen to be hiring models. (And even then, there remains some room for thought.)
For the record, Trump reportedly said on Friday, the day after the debate, that he can't recall using words such as "dog," ''fat" and "disgusting" in disagreements with women. But Trump's Twitter feed and history of public comments including those words are well-documented.
The Donald's objections to Kelly's line of questioning aside, thanks to her, Americans now have the option of digesting the scope of Trump's comments before they cast their votes.