You can't criticize women for failing to stand up for other women. Because if you do, then you are also failing to stand up for women. Because you are criticizing women.
This is Mike Huckabee's logic.
The former Arkansas governor, a Fox News contributor, appeared on Martha MacCallum's show on Wednesday night and said his daughter, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “deserves better” than the rebuke she received earlier in the day from MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski. Sanders had defended President Trump, after he tweeted that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) “would do anything” for campaign contributions — a remark Brzezinski and many other journalists interpreted as sexual innuendo.
Brzezinski called on women in the White House — specifically Sanders, Ivanka Trump and first lady Melania Trump — to tell the president such attacks on women are unacceptable.
“I'll tell you right now, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, I feel sorry for you,” Brzezinski said on “Morning Joe.” “I seriously support you in your quest for truth, in your quest for goodness, in your quest for love of country because you haven't made it there yet.”
In response, Huckabee said Sanders “deserves better from other women. And it just amazes me that even the women who say they're feminists are doing everything they can to discredit my daughter.”
So, according to Huckabee, a true feminist would not criticize Sanders for defending Trump's attack on a woman; a true feminist would be fine with Sanders's support of the president's behavior, simply because Sanders is a woman.
What we have here is a spectacular false equivalency in which the act of calling out a woman who fails to stand up to Trump is just as bad as failing to stand up to Trump.
Huckabee's argument is consistent with a well-worn Trumpian tactic that The Fix's Aaron Blake documented during the 2016 campaign. When Hillary Clinton called Trump a bigot, he called her a bigot. When Clinton said Trump lacked the temperament to be president, he said she lacked the temperament to be president. On and on it went.
Now Brzezinski says Sanders isn't doing enough for women, so Huckabee says Brzezinski isn't doing enough for women. The strategy is predictable and obvious.