With President Donald Trump in Paris on Friday for his second day being hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron on Bastille Day, people across the world are collectively cringing—and expressing outrage—after a widely-circulated video showed Trump objectifying the French First Lady.
Trump was seen Thursday telling Brigitte Macron, "You're in such good shape," before turning to her husband and saying, "She's in such good physical shape. Beautiful."
While some have dismissed the remark as a simple compliment to Ms. Macron, the comment is the latest in a string of incidents in which the president appears to view women as objects whose value lies only in their physical appearance.
Trump only thinks and talks of women as if they are slabs of meat. In this primative behavior, he's consistent.
— John Moffitt (@JohnRMoffitt) July 14, 2017
'You're in such good shape': Trump makes inappropriate sexist & ageist comment to Brigitte Macron #EverydaySexism
— EverydaySexism (@EverydaySexism) July 14, 2017
Just weeks ago, Trump singled out Irish journalist Caitriona Perry during a phone call with the Irish prime minister, telling the leader, "She has a nice smile on her face." Two days later the president's fixation on a woman's appearance was in the news again, when he aggressively mocked cable news anchor Mika Brzezinski for having had plastic surgery.
Female politicians have been treated to Trump's unsolicited opinions on their appearances as well; while running for president, Trump hurled insults at his opponent Carly Fiorina.
While frequently and publicly commenting on women's looks may be par for the course for a man who runs beauty pageants, many Americans continue to express dismay that Trump has retained the habit as a leader representing the United States on the world stage.
At Slate, Marissa Martinelli commented on the ageism implied in Trump's remark. "His choice of words is telling," she said, "because the unspoken end of the sentence 'you’re in such good shape' is 'for your age.' It's a formulation that highlights a core Trumpian trait: just how obsessed he is with the specter of female decline."
Vox's Sarah Wildman noted, "You can leave the Miss Universe pageant, but it never leaves you," and wrote that Trump appears capable only of interactions with women when he's able to focus on her looks. "It seems no woman, no matter her station, no matter how official, no matter how much she might be, you know, married to the president of France, is safe from Trump's inappropriate appraisal," wrote Wildman.
On Twitter, comedy writer Nick Jack Pappas noted many women's response to commentary like Trump's, when experienced away from TV cameras.
Trump told Macron's wife “you’re in such good shape," a comment women like so much they'll put on headphones and move to another subway car.
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) July 14, 2017
In the past, White House officials have appeared reluctant to characterize Trump's behavior towards women as inappropriate, so it's likely only a matter of time before the president next makes his opinion on a woman's appearance known.