Women of the White House care so lit­tle about women

Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION - S. E. CUPP

By some met­rics, you could say it’s a great time to be a woman in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics.

Four of six of Amer­ica’s fe­male gov­er­nors are Repub­li­cans. A woman heads up the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee. The first fe­male pres­i­den­tial cam­paign man­ager just won the White House. And women serve in nu­mer­ous pow­er­ful po­si­tions in this Repub­li­can ad­min­is­tra­tion, from am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions to sec­re­taries of trans­porta­tion, ed­u­ca­tion and home­land se­cu­rity to white house press sec­re­tary.

But one of the things that makes con­ser­va­tives dis­tinct from lib­er­als is that we don’t be­lieve in fill­ing quo­tas as an end in it­self. That is, just putting num­bers of women in rep­re­sen­ta­tive slots doesn’t mean those women are nec­es­sar­ily better at their jobs than men, nor does it mean those women are good for women.

This point could not be clearer right now, as a num­ber of high- profile women in Repub­li­can lead­er­ship are both prov­ing to be patently bad at their jobs and ex­pos­ing a shock­ing dis­dain for what is good for women.

Over the past nine days, I have watched women in po­si­tions of tre- men­dous power in my party con­tort to ei­ther de­fend, spin, dis­miss or ig­nore dis­turb­ing and cred­i­ble re­ports of do­mes­tic violence pro­vided by at least three vic­tims and a de­tailed FBI re­port in or­der to pro­tect a White House aide, who’s now re­signed, and the pres­i­dent he worked for.

Among the least trou­bling as­pects of this scan­dal is just how badly these pro­fes­sion­als have man­aged it. Any cri­sis com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­fes­sional would have known how to keep a one­day story from be­com­ing a nine- day story by fir­ing Rob Porter, in­stead of wait­ing for him to re­sign, is­su­ing an un­equiv­o­cal state­ment con­demn­ing do­mes­tic violence and vow­ing to make sure the White House is a safe place for women to work — not to men­tion a place that sends the na­tion the right moral mes­sage about a se­ri­ous, se­ri­ous crime.

In­stead, com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Hope Hicks, the girl­friend of the ac­cused abuser, who also works in the White House, pushed out a glow­ing de­fense of his char­ac­ter. Press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders blamed the FBI, then the White House Per­son­nel Se­cu­rity Of­fice for Porter’s em­ploy­ment, and in­sisted that Pres­i­dent Trump takes do­mes­tic violence very se­ri­ously and sup­ports abuse vic­tims, de­spite the fact that ev­ery one of his pub­lic state­ments on the mat­ter sym­pa­thizes with al­leged abusers.

White House Coun­selor Kellyanne Con­way went on the Sun­day

For all the em­pow­er­ing of women to po­si­tions of in­flu­ence, some of the most pow­er­ful have de­cided to put the worst kind of men ahead of the most vul­ner­a­ble kind of women.

shows to say that Hicks is in no real dan­ger be­cause she’s too “smart” and “strong” to al­low her­self to be abused, which, need­less to say, rubbed abuse vic­tims, in­clud­ing Porter’s ex- wife, the wrong way.

To be clear, women ei­ther made all of these de­ci­sions or car­ried them out. By any pub­lic re­la­tions mea­sure, they were the wrong ones.

Of course, this in­com­pe­tence and lapse in judg­ment is trou­bling. But what’s more trou­bling is that these women are no longer cred­i­ble voices for women.

Whether by nat­u­ral in­stinct, or to pro­tect a pres­i­dent who has him­self been ac­cused of sex­ual as­sault and ha­rass­ment, or to cod­dle a boss who can never ad­mit he is wrong, or to carry out his puerile and un­end­ing de­fense of the be­sieged white male misog­y­nist, there’s no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion. It is, quite sim­ply, wrong.

Even putting vi­sions of grand acts of courage — like quit­ting their jobs — aside, it would take lit­tle to no courage for any of these in­flu­en­tial women to sim­ply state that they are per­son­ally ap­palled by the de­ci­sion to em­ploy a man ac­cused of do­mes­tic violence and be­lieve the White House and the pres­i­dent need to take staffing more se­ri­ously. Even that ane­mic re­sponse would have sig­naled to women that they ac­tu­ally care about women.

So by this met­ric, the one that ac­tu­ally mat­ters, it is not a great time to be a woman in Repub­li­can pol­i­tics. Be­cause for all the em­pow­er­ing of women to po­si­tions of in­flu­ence, some of the most pow­er­ful have de­cided to put the worst kind of men ahead of the most vul­ner­a­ble kind of women. And as a Repub­li­can woman, that is gut- wrench­ing to watch. Con­tact S. E. Cupp at these­cupp. com. This col­umn orig­i­nally ap­peared in the New York Daily News. Fol­low S. E. Cupp on Twit­ter: @ se­cupp.

Press Sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders | GETTY IM­AGES

Coun­selor Kellyanne Con­way | AP

Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Di­rec­tor Hope Hicks | AP

Rob Porter

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