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Dowd: Michelle schools the still clueless Donald Trump


Anita Hill lost her fight.

The creepy guy who acted pervy toward her won.

The issue of sexual harassment burst onto the national scene 25 years ago, exploding in the male dominion of Congress, in the shadow of that macho symbol, the Washington Monument.

Such vulgarities and sexually explicit language never before had been heard in the political arena.

That traumatic week in 1991 was considered an important tutorial in sexual harassment. Except that, in the end, Clarence Thomas got rewarded by the cowed Senate Judiciary Committee and ended up with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

No women voted against Thomas because none was on the committee. Just middle-aged white men, many of whom left the chamber believing that there had been some sort of consensual relationship between Hill and Thomas.

Now we have been slimed with another week of unprecedented vulgarities and sexually explicit language in the political arena. A cascade of women are stepping up to the microphone to describe a creepy guy acting pervy toward them.

But this time, women get to vote. Donald Trump’s alleged transgressions have energized women to support Hillary Clinton in a way she could not with her own campaign.

Hillary is in an awkward spot on the subject of licentious behavior by men. But Michelle Obama stepped in as the avenging angel Anita Hill never had. At a rally for Clinton last Thursday, her voice trembling with disgust, the first lady explained why the “cruel” and “frightening” actions of Trump — whom she did not deign to name — could not be written off as “locker-room talk” or “a bad dream.”

“It’s that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them, or forced himself on them and they’ve said no but he didn’t listen,” she said. “It reminds us of stories we heard from our mothers and grandmothers about how, back in their day, the boss could say and do whatever he pleased to the women in the office.”

That made me think of my mom, who said that when she worked at a bond company in Washington in her 20s, the executives routinely pulled the young women onto their laps at the Christmas party.

But the raft of accusations of sexual assault, trespass kissing, surprising disrobed women and teenagers in beauty contest changing rooms, and agreeing with Howard Stern that the 23-year-old Ivanka was “a piece of ass,” have added a sicker aspect to Trump’s cave man image.

Trump doesn’t get the contradiction of bringing Bill Clinton’s accusers to the second debate and saying Hillary should be blamed for “viciously” trying to destroy their credibility, even as he viciously tries to destroy the credibility of his own accusers.

Disintegrating like a mad king locked away in his Fifth Avenue castle, he can’t see how offensive his defense is: that the women accusing him were not attractive enough to assault.

Trump did not seem aware, when he had his lawyer write to The New York Times threatening to sue over a story about two women accusing him of assault, that he had pre-confessed. As the estimable Times lawyer David McCraw wrote back: “Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.”


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