The Corner

Miss Universegate

So it sounds like Trump was rude, bullying and tacky to the former Miss Universe about her need to lose weight. That doesn’t shock me and I doubt it shocks anybody else. So could he have been nicer about it? Absolutely. But this notion that a beauty pageant winner’s physical appearance isn’t relevant to the organization just strikes me as bizarre. Alicia Machado is not a plausible stand in for all women, nor a perfect poster girl for decrying the scourge of “fat shaming.” Newt Gingrich is right when he says, “you’re not supposed to gain 60 pounds during the year that you’re Miss Universe.”

Many of the women anchors on TV freaking out about this stuff would be the first to admit — off camera — that if they gained 60 pounds they’d have a problem with their bosses too (and so would the men). Of course, if their bosses handled the problem by referring to anchors in public as “Miss Piggy,” the bosses would be in even more hot water. And if management used phrases like “Miss Housekeeping,” they’d probably and deservedly be in danger of losing their jobs.

But you know what’s even more bizarre? That three days after the first presidential debate, Trump and his top surrogates are still talking about this topic. I thought Trump lost the debate, but not disastrously so. In fact I was sympathetic to some arguments that it was more like a draw or that Trump may in fact have won by being “normalized.” But as we all know, what often matters more than the debate itself is the post-debate conversation about the debates. And if Trump lacked message discipline Monday night, it’s been completely absent in the days that followed. 

I say it’s bizarre, but not shocking, because this sort of thing is apparently the new normal.



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