Trump Pretty Sure Kamala Harris Some Kind Of Monster Movie Monster
Last week, Donald Trump phoned his friends at Fox News and shared his COVID-drug-addled thoughts about the vice presidential debate and impromptu remake of The Fly. He grossly but not surprisingly called Kamala Harris “this monster that was onstage with Mike Pence, who destroyed her last night, by the way."
It wasn't a one-time slip-up. President Projection double-dipped his misogynoir: "This monster, she says, 'no, no, there won't be fracking,' there won't be this. Everything she said is a lie."
This is not how you should speak about a sitting senator who's going to be the vice president-elect in 22 days. But Trump has a pattern of disrespecting strong women, specifically women of color. He calls Hillary Clinton “crooked" and calls for her arrest. But he doesn't dehumanize her quite the way he does Harris. His contempt for Harris is something else.
TRUMP: I thought that wasn't even a contest last night [at the debate]. She was terrible. I don't think you could get worse. And totally unlikeable. And she is.
As usual, Trump is wrong on the facts. According to a CNN poll, a majority of viewers of the debate believed Harris won the debate. It wasn't even close — 59 to 38 percent. Sixty-nine percent of female voters, who don't enjoy seeing smarmy assholes talk over women, thought Harris outperformed Pence, and even men broke 48 to 46 percent in Harris's favor.
It's also odd that Trump would stress that Harris is “unlikeable" when he's just called her a monster. No one likes monsters, as his own approval ratings make quite clear. Maybe Trump is trying to distinguish her from the monsters he personally likes, such as Herman Munster or Ghislaine Maxwell, the accused child rape ringleader he “wished well" after her arrest.
Watch @JimSciutto's reaction to Trump calling Kamala Harris a "monster:" "My children sometimes watch this broadca… https://t.co/QRmq4FucYQ— Brian Stelter (@Brian Stelter)1602163138.0
Trump also went full McCarthy on Harris and claimed she was a communist. This is an unusual charge for a monster, as most are noted Randians. (The Creature from the Black Lagoon, however, was a prominent Marxist.)
TRUMP: She's worse than a socialist, she is a communist. She wants to open up the borders to allow killers and murderers and rapists to pour into our country.
He was hitting his racist greatest hits here. However, it seems like he doesn't fully comprehend the meaning of socialism and communism. They are economic systems, not specifically a border policy. Conservatives like to claim that “globalism is the new communism," but that doesn't jibe with historical precedent. The communist Soviet Union, for instance, imposed a "virtual abolition of emigration and immigration, an effective ban on private travel abroad, and pervasive bureaucratic controls on internal migration."
Trump's slander is consistent with how conservatives defamed Martin Luther King back when he was alive and they couldn't enjoy a cookout on his birthday. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover tried to pin the communist label on the civil rights leader (he also called him the “most notorious liar in the country"). A 1968 FBI “analysis" of King declared him a "whole-hearted" communist who followed a "Marxist-Leninist line."
It is beyond appalling that the President saw fit to refer to my sister @KamalaHarris as a "monster." These dehuma… https://t.co/GredDHrn1h— Cory Booker (@Cory Booker)1602338527.0
The Daily Beast pointed out that Trump normally reserves the term “monster" for hurricanes, terrorists, dictators who don't help him win elections, and the coronavirus. This might seem odd company for Harris, but Trump and the white men who still support him consider the senator a foreign invader in the American body politic. She doesn't belong, and that's the theme of most monster movies, the deep-seated fear of anything remotely different. Republicans might disagree with Trump's verbiage — although they haven't really done that — but deep down in places they don't talk about at parties, they embrace the sentiment.
It's actually a good sign when powerful white men say nasty things about a Black leader. You know they're doing something right. Harris, like most self-respecting Black people, would rather Trump call her a “monster" and a “communist" than invite her to one his coronapalooza rallies.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."