During Wednesday night’s Vice Presidential debate, Sen. Kamala Harris sat calmly as Vice President Mike Pence continued to interrupt her. She did so despite Pence taking more than his allotted time and moderator Susan Page allowing it. And she did an incredible job under circumstances straight out of a dystopian novel: plexiglass barriers to “protect” her from a deadly virus, Pence being on-stage with potential pink eye, a fly landing on his head while he spewed untruths, the repeated references to fracking. But the real reason we know Harris was effective is that President Donald Trump felt the need to call her names the next morning.
In an interview with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo on Thursday, Trump called Harris the “monster who was on stage with Mike Pence” and “a communist.” He also said “she was terrible” during the debate. Oh, and “totally unlikable.” Ok!
Aside from the fact that the president, who absolutely butchered his own debate, has zero merit in saying any of this, calling Harris “a communist” is particularly absurd, considering she has largely known as a centrist (though her liberal voting record is surprisingly. leftist). But Trump knows that talking point will rile up his base.
Calling Harris “unlikable” is straight misogyny, reminiscent of him calling Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” during the 2016 election, a line of thinking that has been designed to keep women docile and non-threatening for centuries. But by far the worst comment Trump made was calling Harris, the first Black and South Asian woman on a major party Presidential ticket, “a monster.”
Of course, this is not the first time he has resorted to name-calling Harris (or any other woman he is threatened by). He has previously called her a “madwoman,” “nasty,” and “angry” — all loaded terms oozing with misogynoir — and implied that she is ineligible to be Vice President, a conspiracy theory rooted in the racist and xenophobic idea of birtherism.
But at this point, it is unsurprising when Trump, who has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by over 20 women, is dismissive and expresses disdain and disrespect for women in powerful positions who dare to challenge him and his campaign. And in a way, this is why Kamala came out the real winner: she got under Trump's skin.