Repeating a talking point favored by some conservatives in recent days, President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested that Americans should be reflecting on what the numerous sexual assault allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh mean for the safety of men—not women.
"It is a very scary time for young men in America, where you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of," Trump told reporters outside the White House. "You could be somebody that was perfect your entire life and somebody could accuse you of something. That's one of the very, very bad things that's taking place right now."
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) October 2, 2018
When a journalist asked, moments later, whether Trump had a message for American women, the president replied, "Women are doing great."
Critics on social media condemned President for giving a national platform to a notion more commonly expressed among men's rights activists than publicly on the White House lawn—and drew attention to the real fear of violence that women across the country face every day.
— NARAL (@NARAL) October 2, 2018
Hey @realdonaldtrump - You said it was a very scary time for young men in America? NO! It’s scarier to be a woman when your president approves of aggressive, violent actions against women!
— National NOW (@NationalNOW) October 2, 2018
NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch expressed a similar view last Thursday as Dr. Christine Blasey Ford prepared to testify regarding her allegation that Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were in high school, telling "Fox and Friends" that Ford's accusation made her fear for her sons. The president's son, Donald Trump, Jr., also said Monday that Ford's testimony him fear for his sons more than his daughters.
While the president and other conservatives have suggested that countless young men will now be falsely accused of sexual assault due to the allegations against Kavanaugh, a 2012 study showed that only about two percent of rape accusations are found to be false.
— Leanne Pittsford (@lepitts) September 29, 2018
Critics also expressed disgust at the suggestion that the consequences Kavanaugh currently faces—potentially not being named as a justice on the nation's highest court or possibly losing his seat on its second highest court—hardly constitutes a reason for American men to live in terror of women speaking out against sexual violence.
Exactly. What is the world coming to when a young, rich, entitled man can’t get drunk and attempt to rape his class mates without it coming back to haunt him when he’s applying for one of the most powerful jobs in the US? Lawdy https://t.co/sHRmcqg9yg
— Stuart Neil (@stuartjdneil) October 2, 2018
Others pointed out that Americans across the country have appealed to the president to take action that would help protect both men and women from police violence, biases in the criminal justice system, and mass shootings—issues in which Trump has taken little serious interest—and that Trump himself has falsely accused others of crimes, calling for the execution of the "Central Park Five" even after they were exonerated.
When Trump says it’s a very scary time for young men in America he does not mean the crisis of police violence or the opioid epidemic or the ubquity of guns. He means men must fear women’s ability to say things that could ruin them. Oh.
— Touré (@Toure) October 2, 2018
Young black men have been murdered by the police time after time for no reason @realDonaldTrump never says a word and now suddenly due to a sexual assault allegation its conveniently a 'scary time' for young men in America! Yikes! #BLM #NovemberIsComing
— Micheaux Fortson (@UrbanVoodoo) October 2, 2018
“It’s a scary time for young men in America; you can be guilty of something you may not be guilty of.”
Trump called for the execution of teen boys falsely accused of raping a woman in Central Park. He said they were guilty even after they were exonerated. pic.twitter.com/GFB6lZSskS
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) October 2, 2018
"Nobody can master the victim-playing... and have all the power better than Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the Republican Party," said MoveOn.org's Karine Jean-Pierre on MSNBC in response to the president's latest comments.
While the GOP has continued to deny the problem of sexual assault and ignore the deep anger that the Kavanaugh nomination has ignited among women across the country, Jean-Pierre said only a "twisted worldview" could result in the opinion that men are the victims of this historic moment.
"I don't think Republicans realize what they've unleashed," she added. "Women are coming out and they're enraged and they're saying we're not going to be silence; they're saying we're not going to play by your rules anymore. And this is what we're seeing at this time, two years past 2016."