Nobody defends the comments Donald Trump made on the Access Hollywood tape. You know, the ones where he portrayed himself as an irresistible jungle cat but with much less class. They were crass, gross, disgusting, infuriating, and wrong. These remarks and plenty of others — think Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina — show a man of immense ego who is devoid of respect for women. True.
Also, not true.
None of us is the sum total of only our ugliest and weakest selves. What an inaccurate picture it would be if the Access Hollywood tape or his prodigious adultery — porn stars and all — were allowed to define Donald Trump’s character and respect for women. The bigger picture shows a man of immense ego who wants to win at all costs and relies on (i.e., respects) extremely powerful women to do so.
Gina Haspel is Donald Trump’s pick to be the first female CIA Director in history. To those of us with armchair quarterback notions of the CIA, that’s impressive. But if the President of the United States, with all of his classified knowledge, thinks Gina Haspel is the right person to lead that agency, she must be even more remarkable than she seems. He is putting a large measure of our country’s safety into her hands, and that is some powerful respect.
Kellyanne Conway will go down in history as the first-ever woman to lead a winning campaign, helping President Donald Trump get elected, and with good reason. She is made of steel, scary smart and effective — so effective at what she does. Candidate Trump could have picked virtually anyone to manage his campaign, or, knowing him, run it himself. But he wanted to win, and he knew Kellyanne Conway was a winner. There are a lot of reasons he was elected, but none of them would have mattered without a sharp campaign strategy. Nothing but respect would put the home stretch of his campaign into her hands.
Kirstjen Nielsen, Department of Homeland Security secretary, is Donald Trump’s pick to oversee what is arguably his most passionate goal: securing our borders. He launched his presidential campaign on the issue of illegal immigration, and there is no way he would let the agency of ICE and the Border Patrol falter for lack of effective leadership. His reported frustration with her aside, as long as she’s in that position, you know he respects her.
Nikki Haley represents us at the United Nations like a boss. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is prepared for anything the White House press corps throw at her and never loses her cool. She was born to do that job. Elaine Chao, Betsy DeVos, and Linda McMahon as secretaries of Transportation, Education, and Small Business Administration round out Donald Trump’s picks for powerful women in this administration.
Yes, he can be a boor. Would I want my daughter to be treated the way he treated Megyn Kelly, Carly Fiorina, or the women he discusses “grabbing” on the Access Hollywood tape? No. But I hope my daughter is watching Kellyanne and Gina and Sarah and Kirstjen.
Donald Trump’s respect for these women isn’t the “diversity” kind where he puts one here and one there so that his administration is “inclusive.” He put each of these women exactly where they belong not because they’re women but because they’re winners. That’s the biggest respect of all.
Donna Carol Voss is a cultural and political commentator.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.