For some reason, NeverTrumpers like me seem to be reacting more harshly to this clip than to the endless bromance between Trump and Mitt Romney, which came replete with dinner at a tony Manhattan restaurant. How come? One theory: Sexism, of course.
Note Conway ccing Rupert Murdoch on her tweet. That’s her way of suggesting Stephens should be fired for his dismissiveness towards a woman whose looks Conway’s own boss famously insulted. We’ve reached a strange place politically where the campaign manager for a guy who got caught talking about grabbing women by the p***y is giving people the BuzzFeed treatment for thoughtcrimes against progress. And I say that as someone who backed Conway over Priebus and Bannon for chief of staff.
It’s not sexism that’s driving the annoyance with Fiorina here. Nor is it the fact that she was Ted Cruz’s VP candidate for five minutes. Cruz caved to Trump months ago; Fiorina held out longer than he did. I think this clip is jarring because her political identity is, or was, based to a larger degree on being anti-Trump than Romney’s was. Republicans had a long history with Romney before he began attacking Trump. He was the social conservative businessman in 2008, then the disappointing nominee who turned out to have been right about a lot in 2012, then the anti-Trumper-in-chief in 2016. He had flip-flops and RomneyCare and “severely conservative” and a million other data points before he became a Trump antagonist. Fiorina is a much less well-known commodity. She was a business pioneer as a woman CEO but she made her biggest dent as a politician during the primary campaign last year, and she made it mainly by attacking Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. She was the CEO in the race who actually knew what she was talking about on policy. She radiated contempt for Trump. A choice quote from her endorsement of Cruz on March 9th:
“There are people in our party who are actually kind of horrified by Donald Trump. I’m one of them,” Fiorina told Cruz supporters. “We’re going to have to beat Donald Trump at the ballot box. And the only guy who can beat Donald Trump is Ted Cruz.”
“There are some people in our party saying Donald Trump isn’t so bad … but he’s a deal maker; he can make deals. The truth is Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are two sides of the same coin. They’re not going to reform the system, they are the system,” she said.
Now, supposedly, she’s suddenly being considered for Director of National Intelligence. Obviously any anti-Trumper who’s planning to join Trump’s administration will have to say something publicly to explain their change of heart; Romney croaked something out after his dinner with Trump that he might just be the man to lead America into a new era after all. What grates about Fiorina’s “champion” shtick at the beginning here is how gratuitously obsequious it is and how strongly it contradicts the earlier image of her as someone simply too dignified to suffer a fool like Trump gladly. If she wants to say she’s “encouraged” by his conservative cabinet picks or something like that, fine. Instead she’s admiring what it says about Trump’s leadership abilities that he has a super keen celebrity sneaker collection. Hope the new job is worth it, Carly.
Note, by the way, her blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to “Chinese hacking and purported Russian hacking.” Purported? Is that why Trump wants her at DNI, to undermine intelligence conclusions that prove politically inconvenient to him? That’d be a perfect way for the last 18 months to end, with Carly Fiorina of all people deputized as Trump’s new attack dog against anyone who suspects his would-be friend Vladimir.
— CSPAN (@cspan) December 12, 2016