Voices: Yes, creeps like Trump and the allegations against Giuliani really, really matter
In news that will surprise no one, it turns out Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani are – allegedly – absolute creeps. I know, of course, that you might’ve expected more from the president who started his first campaign with a video about grabbing women by the p***y, or who recently kicked off his second run with a legal ruling against him for sexual assault. But apparently, even when Donald was in the White House, he developed obsessions with certain staffers and asked a female worker to stick around so he could “look at her ass”. Number 45’s tendency to walk the halls of power behind “very young” staffers with his tongue hanging out was apparently an “open secret”. It happened in meetings, it happened at work events, it happened in front of other people.
And it turns out that birds of a feather — ALLEGEDLY — flock together! Noelle Dunphy, a former aide to Giuliani, just filed a lawsuit claiming that everyone’s favorite Four Seasons Landscaping orator forced her to perform oral sex on him while he was on the phone to Trump. Apparently, Rudy had a penchant for sex acts while taking calls because it “made him feel like Bill Clinton”. And who among us hasn’t dreamed of feeling like legitimate Marvel superhero Bill Clinton at least once in our lives?
Dunphy is suing Giuliani for $10 million for sexual harassment, wage theft, harassment and other misconduct, all of which Giuliani denies. She claims that she was told to work in the nude and that the man once lauded as America’s Mayor went on “alcohol-drenched rants” throughout her time working with him, which regularly included racist, sexist and antisemitic remarks.
Whether or not it’s true that Rudy Giuliani had a sad little penchant for Bill-and-Monica roleplay, I think we can agree that he hasn’t exactly set himself up as an enlightened soul in the past few years. Some of the lawsuit’s claims are downright bizarre — such as the one alleging that he said Jewish people should “get over” Passover because it was “like 3,000 years ago” and “the Red Sea parted, big deal”. This is the kind of thing you expect from a consciously problematic edgelord teenager hosting his own podcast (or, y’know, maybe Taylor Swift’s new boyfriend.) And he just spent years advising the most powerful politician in the world.
Let’s remember that Trump’s tendency to see women as objects rather than people allowed him to put a huge amount of female American lives in danger. We spent a long time being told the Access Hollywood tape wasn’t that bad; that the weird comments the former president made about his own daughter were normal; that when he said Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever,” he meant something totally fine and normal, but anyway get over it, snowflake. All that time, Trump was making deals with evangelicals helping to eradicate basic reproductive rights. He put the anti-abortion radical Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court. And then Roe v Wade was overturned. And – surprise – it turns out misogyny actually does have real-life consequences!
Americans are exhausted. They were exhausted when Matt Gaetz was being investigated for sex crimes with teenagers (prosecutors ultimately decided not to charge Gaetz, who always denied wrongdoing. His close friend Joel Greenberg pleaded guilty to six federal crimes, including sex trafficking.) They were exhausted when Ron DeSantis’ most intense wet dream started coming true and he got to sign an effective abortion ban bill while banning books that the great Republic of Gilead wouldn’t have allowed either. Hell, they were exhausted way back in 2012 when Todd Aiken memorably educated us all on biology by announcing that women can’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape” because “the body has a way of shutting that down”.
They were exhausted then and they’re certainly exhausted now we’re staring down the barrel of another Trump and Giuliani collab, starting 2024. Or maybe a DeSantis-led fascist state where Disney characters are dragged out and summarily executed every few months for supporting women’s rights. Or maybe we’ll just get another four years of Joe Biden, who also failed to guarantee the right to abortion and hasn’t exactly brought in a feminist utopia.
No, it isn’t at all surprising that Trump and Giuliani are disgusting. But cynicism is easy and sexism is everywhere. Even if everything is unsurprising, and Tucker Carlson now has a Twitter show and Elon Musk fired his pregnant employees and Nancy Pelosi is gone and Republicans are obsessed with AOC’s boyfriend and we’ve all become inured to misogynistic sexual deviancy in government, it still matters. It still really, actually matters.