Why I Wouldn't Let My Daughters Watch Trump Last Night

Photo: Courtesy of Doyin Richards.
Richards and his two young daughters. He's a stay-at-home dad and fatherhood author.
Doyin Richards is a fatherhood author, public speaker, and founder of daddydoinwork.com. The views expressed here are his own.

As a father of two daughters, ages 3 and 5, I knew I had to join the millions of Americans watching Sunday night's second presidential debate.

I wanted to learn more about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s ideas for improving America — not just for me, but for my little girls, as well. Would they support equal pay for my daughters' equal work? What kind of role model would Clinton or Trump be for my girls, if either were to be elected commander in chief?

But what I saw was far from presidential.

Needless to say, as soon as the conversations devolved into groping, sexual assault, and other heinous acts, I knew that this was going to be a debate rated MA — for mature audiences only — and I swiftly removed my kiddos from where they were sitting in front of the television.

Trump’s a dad. I’m a dad. But the way he talks about women — women like the ones my young daughters will grow up to become — shows yet again he’s not on the side of dads like me.

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I know I probably wasn't alone in my discomfort. With roughly 74 million children living in the United States, it's likely that many viewers also have young ones at home. For parents of preteens, letting your kids watch the debate might have even been part of a school assignment.

The debate did give us many lessons for our children about how not to behave in public. But the most troubling part for me was the exchange surrounding an issue that hit America like a runaway bus recently — the "Trump tape."

Trump said a lot of pretty reprehensible things in his conversation with Billy Bush 11 years ago, but there's widespread agreement that these lines were the worst: “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Trump apologized again during the debate, but wrote off the conversation as “locker-room talk.”
Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Images.
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated each other for the second time on Sunday.
Nice try, but what he described is sexual assault. He basically said that because of his inflated sense of self, he had the green light to violate women whenever he pleased.

This wasn’t some hormone-driven teenager talking — he was a 59-year-old grandfather at the time. There’s no way he can roll with that excuse and expect sane human beings to buy it.

And, as a former college basketball player, I can say with certainty that none of my teammates bragged about how we could use our statuses on campus to do whatever we wanted to women without their consent.

How did Trump and his supporters defend his words? By saying, “Well, Bill Clinton did the same stuff!” You know who else uses that kind of defense? Kindergartners.

He basically said that because of his inflated sense of self, he had the green light to violate women whenever he pleased.

Stop excusing bad behavior by bringing up someone else’s bad behavior. It’s childish and completely ineffective. Besides, last time I checked, Mr. Clinton wasn’t running for president. What he did or didn’t do is completely irrelevant here. I don't even know how I would begin to explain that exchange, had my daughters still been in the room.

But I don't need to be a father to know what Trump said is wrong. So, to all the Republicans coming out of the woodwork to finally denounce this guy because they have wives and daughters: I've had enough.

My belief that a person who boasts about sexual assault is a bad dude, isn't based on my status as a father or husband. It's something ALL human beings should know and acknowledge. Similar to the “All Lives Matter” crowd, this line of thinking illustrates how some men lack the ability to empathize — or in other words, they only believe something is an issue if it somehow affects them.

Trump’s a dad. I’m a dad. But the way he talks about women — women like the ones my young daughters will grow up to become — shows yet again he’s not on the side of dads like me.
Photo: Courtesy of Doyin Richards.
Richards with his daughters in 2014. The photo of him doing his daughter's hair went viral and sparked both praise and outrage, he said.
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His track record of indefensible comments isn't the only clue that Trump is the wrong candidate for parents. His family leave plan provides only six weeks of paid leave, but for mothers only.

This is 2016 and not 1956, right?

As a guy who believes strongly in the importance of men bonding with their children early on, that alone would disqualify Trump from getting my vote.

So here we are. It’s 2016 and we’re calling sexual assault “locker-room talk.” We’re not recognizing that there are myriad stay-at-home dads who need paid family leave, too.

And our presidential election is focused on violent, graphic, and disrespectful treatment of women.

We have less than 30 days until we decide the leadership and direction of this country for the next four years. In order to make this country a better place — for us and for our children — we need a president who respects all of the people who live in it.

It's the least our children deserve.
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