In the hours after a leaked 2005 interview between Donald Trump and Billy Bush was made available by the Washington Post, many have taken to social media to show their collective outrage on Trump's lewd, disturbing comments about Days of our Lives actress Adrienne Zucker and Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O'Dell. Mitt Romney's comments on Donald Trump's Access Hollywood tape, in particular, highlight his disgust for Trump's continued treatment of women, both in the public and private sector.
In a 140-character tweet, Romney illuminated how dangerous Trump's messaging is — and though we've all been faced again and again with Trump's ongoing, demoralizing, and demeaning comments directed time and time again toward women, it's Romney's words that should absolutely strike a chord with conservative Republican voters as Election Day approaches. The two have had a highly public, much-discussed contentious past: Romney previously accepted Trump's endorsement in 2012 when he was running for president against current President Obama, but in 2016, Romney called Trump a "phony" and a "fraud," noting that he believed Trump is "playing the American public for suckers." Romney was also notably absent from the 2016 Republican National Convention, where Trump formally accepted the party's nomination. As if that wasn't a strong enough indication of how Romney feels about Trump, today's comment should solidify the former presidential hopeful's feelings on the current Republican nominee:
Say what you will about Romney (and trust me, there is much to say), his comments on the footage heard in the Trump interview (where he proudly talks about wanting to sleep with another married woman — just months after he married Melania Trump — and making such comments as "grabbing women by the p*ssy" in order to seduce them, likening seduction to sexual assault) are incredibly important to pay attention to. Not only do I hope they appeal to the largely undecided voters who don't feel like they have a candidate in Trump or Clinton, but I hope they speak to the Republican party as a whole.
Trump has made it a point to publicly tout and brag about how little he cares for and about women. In doing so, he's positioned himself as someone who is very clearly not here for women, in large ways or small. Though Romney himself was not an ideal candidate in the corner for women at the time of his campaign, his comments on the treatment of women serve as a great reference point for future presidential hopefuls. The Republican party will never ever earn the respect of the at-large millennial voter base with a man like Donald Trump at its helm. Condoning assault and proudly boasting about degrading and demeaning wives and mothers is not only misogynistic and excusable, it's the absolute wrong message to send.
I hesitate to say that Romney's comments "get it right" (because having general empathy, compassion, and consideration for the women in your life and in this world should not be seen as a rarity so exciting it is to be "celebrated" when revealed), but I am wholeheartedly impressed by his comments. I hope they ring in Trump's ears for weeks and months to come.