War on Women Report No. 20

The War on Women is in full force under the Trump administration. We refuse to go back, and we refuse to let the administration quietly dismantle the progress we’ve made. We are watching. 

This is the War on Women Report.

Last Weekend

+ On Sunday, 60 Minutes aired an interview with an adult film star and director who says she and President Trump  had an affair in 2006. Stormy Daniels went into detail about the affair, which included being threatened with physical violence to be silent about the affair. The episode garnered the highest ratings in 10 years, thus eclipsing Trump’s own interviews on the show and his peak numbers while hosting The Apprentice. While Daniels repeatedly iterated she did not view herself as a victim or a part of #MeToo, her allegations of being threatened reflect the overarching issue of abuse and exploitation from men in positions of power.

Monday 3/26

+ The day after her 60 Minutes interview aired, Daniels sued Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen for defamation. Cohen has claimed she is lying about having had a sexual relationship with Trump.

+ On Monday, the Department of Commerce announced the 2020 census would include a question about citizenship. According to the Trump administration, this question will help the DOJ “protect voters.” The decision is being viewed by some as the latest piece of the ongoing voter suppression crisis that targets people of color, and many have vocalized their well-founded fears that it will deter undocumented families from participating. Since the census serves as a way to gauge the needs of communities, that deterrent could impact their access to certain resources—and will certainly serve to remind them of the hostile government forces seeking to limit all immigration and silence immigrant communities.

Tuesday 3/27

+ In a Tuesday report in Politico, the magazine compared how the president treated the state of Texas in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane and Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory that was severely neglected in the wake of Hurricane Maria. According to the report, there was a jarring double standard: “Within six days of Hurricane Harvey, U.S. Northern Command had deployed 73 helicopters over Houston, which are critical for saving victims and delivering emergency supplies,” Danny Vinik wrote. “It took at least three weeks after Maria before it had more than 70 helicopters flying above Puerto Rico.” Throughout the weeks following the hurricane in San Juan, Trump repeatedly demonstrated his ignorance about the U.S. territory and its needs, reflective of his struggles to recognize people of color in America as Americans, and bullied women lawmakers who demanded government intervention to save lives on the island. Trump’s neglect of a group of nonwhite Americans affected by tragedy in comparison with his treatment of the city of Houston should speak volumes.

Wednesday 3/28

+ On Wednesday, speaking on behalf of the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the Sacramento shooting of Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man killed by police officers in his own backyard, a “local matter,” clarifying that the White House will not get involved. Her remarks were frustrating in light of the president’s repeated decisions to involve himself in other issues of racial justice, such as calling black athletes protesting police brutality “sons of b-tches” or lauding some neo-Nazis in Charlottesville as “very fine people.” Additionally, the suggestion that Clark’s murder is merely a “local” matter suggests racially charged police brutality is not the systemic national issue that it is.

+ Also on Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that a new proposal by the Department of Homeland Security and awaiting the president’s approval would deny legal U.S. residency to any “immigrants who accept almost any form of welfare or public benefit, even popular tax deductions.” In this sense, people would be punished not even for committing crimes or making communities less safe, which the Trump administration repeatedly cites as a key reason for strict immigration. Instead of targeting criminals, the policy would simply discriminate by economic status and marginalize immigrants simply for being poor.

Thursday 3/29

+ On Thursday, the Daily Beast reported ICE would end its practice of releasing pregnant women from custody, a practice that immigration and reproductive justice advocates say places pregnant women in danger. This policy could also increase pregnant women’s risk of miscarriage. A representative of the American Immigration Council has called the practice “barbaric” and said that it could have “serious health implications.

+ Bloomberg reported that Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, famed for his strong affinity for the fossil fuels industry, was paying rent substantially lower than market value for an apartment owned by a prominent oil lobbyist. Pruitt paid $50 a night for the apartment, and only on nights when he actually used it. The findings could soon result in an investigation, and are just the latest demonstration of many White House officials’ jarring conflicts of interest.

Friday 3/30

+ On Friday, Kellyanne Conway criticized Hillary Clinton for claiming that people were only critical of the former presidential candidate for continuing to make public appearances and comments because she is a woman. But Conway’s own defense of Clinton’s male counterparts—that “they were much more gracious about it”—only reinforces the former Secretary of State’s perspective. Clinton is right to call out the sexism in people being frustrated with a woman publicly expressing her opinions. After more than 40 years of public service, she does not owe us anything—and certainly not her silence.



Kylie Cheung writes about reproductive and survivor justice, and is the author of Survivor Injustice: State-Sanctioned Abuse, Domestic Violence, and the Fight for Bodily Autonomy, available Aug. 15.