If there has been one continuous theme in the Donald Trump presidency, it has been the 45th president’s rocky relationships with strong women. Whether it was Trump’s crude remarks regarding Megyn Kelly’s moderating skills (“bleeding out of her […]” comment) or mocking Carly Fiorina’s face, MSNBC analyst Mika Brzezinski’s “face-lift” or women who weren’t “10s” because of breast size, Trump has distinguished his presidency as the most misogynistic one in our modern era. Considering that most of the presidents didn’t push for a woman’s right to vote, his comments are more disgusting than outright sexist. Obviously, he’s made off-the-cuff comments to Billy Bush too, but his out-in-the-open comments are the oddest and most antagonistic. He appears to have a very demeaning view of women, except for two: His daughter Ivanka Trump and his wife, Melania Trump. There, Trump has found two women helping to maintain some sanity in the president’s mess of an administration.
Trump’s relationship with his children was one reason that many Americans weren’t terrified of him. The boys came across as polite and well-mannered, and Ivanka has been a media darling for a long time. In fact, from an international point of view, Ivanka was the one person that the UK paper The Independent saw as the redeeming quality of Trump’s wacky campaign.
Last year The Independent’s Rachael Revesz wrote: “In most respects, Ivanka Trump embodies everything that most socialists would be wary of: wealth, power, inheritance. Yet there is something incredibly alluring about the 34-year-old mother of three, who has arguably become one of the most, if not the most, important person within the Donald Trump campaign. It would take the most hardened ‘left-winger’ to not be moved by her apparent warmth and voice of reason, and all delivered with a white smile.”
While there have been many inappropriate Freudian jokes about her father’s adoration for her, even Trump has listened to her on more moderate issues and developing child-care credits for working moms. She is his conscience, his Jiminy Cricket. You know, while he tries to become a real president as his nose grows. It’s my guess, she has kept him from allowing some profit-hungry Republicans to produce an even scarier health-care bill.
While she’s his guiding light, Melania has been the yin to his yang. Her anti-bullying rhetoric is obviously addressing her disproval of his Twitter antics. Even her desire to stay in New York seemed to be based on where she could be most effective at the time for their son and his connections in Manhattan. She isn’t afraid to look like her own woman, and he hasn’t lashed out once at her Miss Independent attitude.
In fact, a new Fox News poll released on July 7 states, “Fifty-one percent of voters view Melania Trump favorably. That’s up 14 points since December and up 16 points from the first time the Fox News Poll asked about her last summer. At that time, 35 percent viewed the wife of the controversial candidate favorably and 40 percent unfavorably (August 2016). Twenty-four percent couldn’t rate her.” In fact, her approval ratings are higher than those of her husband (49 percent), Mike Pence (47 percent), Paul Ryan (37 percent) and Nancy Pelosi (33 percent). While she isn’t a politician, her association with the president could have been an Achilles’ heel, but she’s growing in all categories since last summer. Her silent strength has been a steady rock the past six months.
What makes President Trump’s relationship with his daughter and wife so interesting is that in many ways they have been the antithesis to him. Soft spoken as opposed to harsh. Kind and not mean. Progressive and not regressive. While he’s attacked women who did almost nothing to provoke him, he’s said nothing against the women who have been more divisive in his presidency.
This observation shows that Donald Trump the man is different than Donald Trump the cartoon character. I’m not a fan of Donald Trump. Whenever I see Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Bill Maher or other news outlets, I weep, knowing who should have been the president in a fair world, but Trump’s destructive temperament might still be in reality-star mode, and I can only pray that the women in his life bring out a man we can one day admire.