By all means, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is one of the most accomplished women in the Trump administration. But in a recent interview, instead of talking about you know, her job, she was forced to deny she was having an affair with President Donald Trump.
Haley called the rumor "highly offensive" and "disgusting." She also said that women in positions of power often face gossip of how they must have slept their way to the top. And you know what? She's absolutely right.
Haley is not the first woman on Trump's team to face such allegations. White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and adviser Kellyanne Conway have also been said to be having an affair with Trump. These speculations are downright insulting and by going into the old-age stereotype that women can't find success unless they sleep their way to the top, we're completely erasing the accomplishments of these women.
And they are accomplished, whether you agree with their politics or not. Conway is the first female campaign manager in history to successfully get her candidate to the Oval Office. At 29, Hicks is basically a Trump whisperer and one of the most influential people in his inner circle. Before becoming UN ambassador, Haley was the first female and first Indian-American governor in South Carolina.
These three women have climbed so high in the power ladder because they're pretty goddamn good at their respective jobs, full stop. But by saying that they got there by maintaining an extramarital relationship with their boss is demeaning and wouldn't be acceptable in many circles if it was directed at someone such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Remember when Trump crudely said the New York Democrat would do "anything" in exchange for donations? The attacks against these conservative women are pretty much in that same line.
The Haley controversy began after Fire & Fury author Michael Wolff said in an interview he was "absolutely sure" Trump was currently having an affair, but he didn't have enough evidence to include it in his controversial book.
He went on to tease readers, saying they would know what paragraph he was talking about. People concluded he must have been referring to: "The president had been spending a notable amount of private time with Haley on Air Force One and was seen to be grooming her for a national political future." But the UN ambassador denied that the characterization was even remotely true. "I have literally been on Air Force One once and there were several people in the room," she said, adding she's never alone with the president.
This is not even the first time that Haley, who's been married for 20 years and has two kids, has faced similar allegations. During her run for governor, there were loud whispers that she was having an affair. There was never proof of such liaisons, and throughout it all, Haley has categorically denied she has been involved with anyone other than her husband. But alas, here we are again.
The rumors about Trump having an extramarital affair with any of the high-profile women in his administration has less to do with his well-documented philanderer tendencies and everything to do with putting these women in their rightful "place." Because — people seem to imply — how in the world would they be able to climb to such a powerful position without using their bodies to get there?
Here's the thing: You can absolutely disagree with the politics of the high-profile women in the Trump administration and that's not sexist. Think Hicks should be using her magical PR-skills elsewhere? Not sexist. Saying Haley's politics are problematic? Not sexist. Does it drive you up a wall when Conway goes to battle with anyone at any given network and peddles her so-called alternative facts? Not sexist. Think all these three women should disavow the president, given the sexual misconduct allegations against him? Not sexist.
But saying they are sleeping with the president without offering proof, reducing them to just a messed up stereotype that has no place in 2018? Yeah, that's a cheap misogynistic shot.