Politics

SCARAMUCCI IS OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE

Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci was let go from his position as the communications director of the White House at the behest of the new chief of staff, John Kelly, according to the New York Times.

Scaramucci was only communications director since July 21, during which time he missed the birth of his son to attend Donald Trump’s speech at the Boy Scouts’ Jamboree and had an expletive-filled tirade during a phone call with a reporter from the New Yorker, where he called Reince Priebus, the former chief of staff, a “f*cking paranoid schizophrenic” and threatened to fire everyone in the White House until the leaks stopped. In comparison, I have done very little since July 21.

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Politics, Thinkpiece

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Header Image Source: CNN


Public figures like Caitlyn Jenner and Ivanka Trump are shying away from disclosing their political activities.

While promoting her new book, Secrets of My Life, Caitlyn Jenner sat down with Andy Cohen at Sirius XM Radio for a town hall-style meeting Wednesday, April 26. Jenner made headlines when she came out as transgender in 2015. In their discussion, Cohen steered the conversation towards politics—Jenner is famously a conservative Republican. Jenner said that she had been making trips to Washington, D.C. but that her influence in politics would be private and unseen.

It was a reiteration of the point she made the night before on CNN with Don Lemon. She said that she would not take up President Trump’s offer to go golfing after he revoked the former administration’s protection for transgender students. However, Jenner said she would go golfing with President Trump in private, because if she did it in public, her community would “go nuts” and ostracize her.

Besides the puzzling contradiction of going on public television to say that you will golf with President Trump in private, Jenner’s statement that much of her involvement in politics would be behind closed doors is troubling at best and dangerous at worst.

Jenner is markedly tone-deaf when it comes to issues of LGBTQ equality. On The Ellen Show, she did not express complete support for same-sex marriage, and that it was an issue that she used to be completely against as a self-identified “traditionalist.” Instead, she said that if “the word marriage is so important to you, then I can support that.” She claimed that the hardest part of being a woman was picking out “what to wear.”

These can be dismissed as tragically unfortunate choices of words, but the root of the issue is that Caitlyn Jenner is a person of immense privilege who wants to speak for, represent and negotiate on behalf of arguably the most disenfranchised and least privileged subsection of the U.S. population.

According to a 2016 Reuters article, “almost 60 percent of transgender Americans have avoided using public restrooms for fear of confrontation, saying they have been harassed and assaulted.” According to the Office for Victims of Crime, one in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted in their lifetime. 13 percent of African-American transgender people surveyed were sexually assaulted in the workplace, and 22 percent of transgender homeless individuals reported assault whilst staying in shelters.

And while Jenner is transgender, it cannot be denied that for 65 years she presented as a white, privileged man. And after she transitioned, she had unfettered access to the best surgeons and doctors, a private Malibu estate for recovery and no monetary restrictions. Some transgender people choose to not go through surgery, but for those that would like to the costs are usually prohibitive.

Jenner has also been largely isolated from the daily discomfort that many queer people experience every day—catcalling, harassment and discrimination. All of these things, combined with her inexperience with politics and her position as a conservative Republican who voted for Trump, make me uncomfortable that she might be the touchstone for Republicans and the representative of the LGBTQ community. That she would do it with no cameras, at private dinners and meetings behind closed doors is even more concerning.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Ivanka Trump in her interview with Gayle King for CBS News. “I don’t think that it will make me a more effective advocate to constantly articulate every issue publicly where I disagree,” she said. “And that’s okay. That means that I’ll take hits from some critics who say that I should take to the street. And then other people will in the long-term respect where I get to. But I think most of the impact I have, over time most people will not actually know about.”

This idea of silent impact does a few things. Firstly, it absolves people like Trump and Jenner from any responsibility. If you don’t know what they’ve done, you can’t blame them. Secondly, it’s impossible to hold them accountable for anything. If they never pledge any sort of action, it’s impossible to keep them in line. Lastly, it’s difficult expect them to operate within a rational, ethical framework because you have no idea what they’re doing.

And lastly, as a person with unparalleled influence and platform, you don’t get to be private. If Ivanka wanted to operate as a private citizen, she shouldn’t have moved to Washington, D.C. and taken a position in her father’s administration. When she made that deal with the devil, she gave up the right to be private. When you’re operating from the most powerful building in the world, the American public deserve to know what you’re up to. If Caitlyn Jenner wanted to remain private, she shouldn’t have dropped the tantalizing tidbits that she was taking meetings in Washington.

You can’t have it both ways. If you want public power, then you don’t get to wield it privately.

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Politics

YES, IVANKA TRUMP IS COMPLICIT

News has broken that Ivanka Trump, the First Daughter with security clearance and an untitled job in the West Wing, met secretly with Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, in what Richards described as an “explainer” meeting. According to Politico, the First Daughter has been doing several of these meetings, having “quietly met with other leaders of the progressive women’s movement.”

 

In a recent interview with Gayle King, Ms. Trump has this to say about her critics: “If being complicit is wanting to, is wanting to be a force of good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit…I don’t know that the critics who may say that of me, if they found themselves in this very unique and unprecedented situation that I am now in, would do any differently than I am doing.”

The “complicit” of it all refers to the Saturday Night Live sketch were Scarlett Johansson played Ivanka in a perfume ad (“Complicit: The fragrance for the woman who could stop all of this—but won’t.”).

Ivanka assured Gayle and the public at large that just because she hasn’t been vocal doesn’t mean she hasn’t been active. “I would say not to conflate lack of public denouncement with silence,” she told King. “I think there are multiple ways to have your voice heard.” And how has Ivanka made her voice heard?

 

Since Trump has been in office, he has rescinded federal protection for transgender students re bathrooms, defended Bill O’Reilly (who is accused by multiple women of sexual harassment), accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping, voiced his support for the American Health Care Act and even tried to dispense with maternity and pediatric care as a bargaining chip, and told Planned Parenthood that he wouldn’t defund them if they stopped performing abortions.

If Ivanka Trump is truly a “moderate” influence on her father, then either she’s doing a horrible job of it, or he’s way more batshit than we think and this is him “moderated.”

Either way, make no mistake—Ivanka is complicit. Because to not be complicit would be to actively speak out for what she believes in. “Complicit” looks like secret meetings with Planned Parenthood or quietly reaching out to women’s movements—when you arguably have one of the biggest platforms in America right now, and unprecedented access to the president and the private sector.

I find issue with organizations like The Hill who tweet out headlines like “Ivanka Trump: “I don’t know what it means to be complicit”.” Yes, that is a quote, but it’s taken out of context. And in addition to being misrepresentative and clickbait-y, it paints Ivanka Trump as an idiot. And the dangerous part—she’s not an idiot. She’s deadly smart. That’s why she’s dangerous: because she’s incredibly smart and savvy and still won’t do anything. In the same way that Kellyanne Conway is portrayed as ditzy—it’s a mistake to underestimate them. Kellyanne Conway is incredibly smart—she was able to see something in Middle America that everyone else, including (and especially) the Clinton campaign, did not.

Don’t let her off the hook because in comparison to everyone else in the White House, she’s moderate and progressive. Because she’s pretty and slim and wealthy and white. Because she’s a “working woman.” She’s not your friend, she’s not my friend. She’s not with us.

Yes, Ivanka Trump is complicit because “quietly” and “secretly” meeting with progressive feminists does not seem to be mitigating her father’s harmful rhetoric and policy. Because when you’re the First Daughter (and de facto First Lady) and your husband is a senior adviser to the President, you don’t get to do anything secretly and quietly. Everything you can be doing needs to be loud and outward. Because while you quietly chat with Cecile Richards, who later blasted Trump on her silence, women are having their bodies debated over by cisgender, privileged white men, and trans kids are holding in their pee to avoid physical assault, and your father is protecting the reputations of those accused of sexual harassment.

If this is your moderating force, it’s not going that well.

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music, Politics, pop culture, Things Happening RN

THINGS HAPPENING RN: OH LORDE, KELLYANNE CONWAY, AND DISNEY’S GOING GAY (apparently)

I was writing a piece about body image that wasn’t flowing, and I have to get this piece up, so I figured I would just round up a few pieces of news and talk about them. So leave me alone, k?

THINGS HAPPENING RN:

1). LeFou Is Revealed To Be Gay in Live-Action Beauty and the Beast:

I think what bugs me so much about this is not that LeFou—Gaston’s little sidekick—is gay but that everyone is lauding this as a watershed moment. Yes, this will be Disney’s first gay character. However, they’re describing him as “openly gay” while in the same breath saying that, “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings.”

JUST REALIZING your feelings is not being “openly gay.” And going beyond the insulting semantics, the fact that the first LGBTQ character in a Disney movie will be the goofy sidekick of a misogynistic and abusive villain, and that on top of that, LeFou admires and lusts unfulfilled after the heterosexual Gaston, means that Disney is expecting applause for baking a cake when they’ve given the queer community a crumb.

In the case of Love It or List It, I’m gonna List it. Even Frozen did it better, y’all.

2). Jeff Sessions Recuses Himself from Russia Investigations:

Yesterday it was revealed that Sessions had had contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. While he was not directly associated with the campaign yet, he was supportive of Donald Trump and, under oath, claimed to have no knowledge of contact between Russia and Trump surrogates—not true. And a big problem since Sessions, as Attorney General, is the one looking into seeing if there was any illegal activity re these contacts. Sessions faced pressure to either resign or recuse himself from the investigation. And of course, the Trump White House had a million different responses to it. This morning, Press Secretary Sean Spicer that Sessions had no reason to recuse himself. So today, Sessions held a press conference to announce that he would recuse himself from the Russia investigations.

On a side note, he looks like Yoda, no?

3). Lorde released, “Green Light,” the first single off her sophomore album, Melodrama:

YES. Instead of waiting forty days after Ash Wednesday, hunny, our Lorde has chosen to resurrect the day after!!!! The single, described by Lorde, will “make you dance.” It’s fast, loud, weird and beautiful—totally different than the slow-bops Lorde graced us with on her debut album, Pure Heroine. I’m feeling like this might be a 21-25 album set, where the second one is all about how much Lorde has grown in her absence. Very excited—but definitely thought that “Green Light” was a reference to The Great Gatsby, but maybe that’s on me.

 

4). Kellyanne Conway won’t face punishment for ethics breach when she advertised Ivanka’s clothing line:

The real crime is probably that clothing line, but that’s not important right now. Weeks ago, after Nordstroms announced it would drop Ivanka’s clothing line, Trump was upset and on-air, Conway said that she was giving the line a “free commercial” and encouraged everyone to go out and buy it. that’s, like, a no-no. Federal employees are forbidden from using their public office for commercial endorsement. Conway was noticeably absent from the TV for a few weeks. White House deputy counsel Stefan Passantino wrote to the Office of Government Ethics that Conway had acted without “nefarious motive” and did the endorsement inadvertently. Like, k? But hon, that’s still a breach of ethics.

*****

Okay babes, that’s all I could rustle up. Maybe eventually I’ll workshop that body article, or maybe I’ll let it languish in the dust of my document folder. Who knows?

Please check out Lorde’s new single—it’s vital—and also spread the word about my blog so that someone rich/powerful finds it and helps me out. THANKSZ.

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