We can add Mrs. Myeshia Johnson, a 24 year-old pregnant mother of two young children and a Gold Star widow, to the long and growing list of women attacked and maligned by Donald J. Trump. How did we get to such an awful moment when a Commander-in-Chief impugns the integrity of a grieving widow who buried her husband less than 48 hours ago?
The long answer would point out the 12 days of silence by the Commander-in-Chief after the October 4th attack when Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright were killed by ISIS fighters near the Niger/Mali border. The long answer would include a blow-by-blow rundown of the subsequent 7 days of deflections, lies, and smear tactics from Trump, various White House staffers, and surrogates.
The short answer is that Donald J. Trump has a proven history of degrading and attacking women, especially those who dare to criticize him. He is especially vicious in his attacks against women of color. This is who he is.
During recent weeks, Trump has gone after Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, ESPN commentator Jemele Hill, and US Representative Frederica Wilson. These three women are accomplished professionals in their respected fields. They were all outspoken in their criticism of Donald Trump and he retaliated with relentless tweetstorms full of smears and ridicule. He mocked Mayor Cruz as millions of Americans in Puerto Rico were mired in the devastating aftermath of two catastrophic hurricanes. He even called for Jemele Hill to be fired.
Trump took to Twitter and effectively called Myeshia Johnson a liar after she was critical about what he said during their phone call last week. Unlike Cruz, Hill, and Wilson, Myeshia Johnson is not a public figure. She’s a young widow and mother who lost her husband and has been left with many unanswered questions about how he was killed and why he was left behind for 48 hours after the rest of his team was evacuated. In the midst of grief, Mrs. Johnson has been forced to go on TV to both defend herself against the POTUS and also use that spotlight to demand answers about her husband’s death.
Trump’s accomplices in these recent attacks against women of color included White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Sarah Sanders stood at the podium and amplified every smear and lie her boss directed at these women. Then John Kelly launched a pointed and vicious character assault against Rep. Wilson by fabricating a story to depict her as a showboat. He used demeaning and dehumanizing language, calling her an “empty barrel” and “that Congresswoman”, refusing to say her name. He also refused to give Myeshia Johnson the dignity of referring to her by name, despite his sanctimonious lecture admonishing everyone to show reference for Gold Star families. Mrs. Johnson is a Gold Star widow like Kelly’s own daughter-in-law. Yet, he would not say her name.
There will be no consolation nor an apology forthcoming from Trump to Mrs. Myeshia Johnson or any of the women Trump has vilified. There is no “high road” to or from Trump’s White House. When the Obamas packed up and moved out, they took compassion, class, and the “high road” with them.
“What do you have to lose?!”
African Americans already knew the answer to that question when Donald Trump barked out those words in 2016. Trump’s attacks against women of color, especially Black women, are painful to witness but not the least bit shocking. He and his entire administration remind us every day, in word and deed, of their disdain for us.
By: Christina Rome