The Trump administration has not been a model of effective governance or leadership in light of the fact that the White House has failed to get the support of the people it’s supposed to actually be leading behind it. Instead, the president has peppered his time in the public eye — including before he decided to run for president — with sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry, and it’s turned into a remarkably chaotic presidential administration.
Through the controversy, however, the going line from the president’s team is that everything is getting along just fine. In that light, on Thursday — International Women’s Day — the White House formally announced that the first lady would be presenting the International Women of Courage Award during the annual ceremony associated with the award later this month, on March 21.
Neither the announcement from the White House nor the statement from the first lady mention the issues of sexism associated with the Trump presidency. Besides the history of disparaging comments towards women, the president also remains credibly accused by numerous women of sexual harassment and assault.
The statement from Melania Trump, who has shied away from the spotlight since assuming her position as first lady, covers none of these issues, instead simply focusing on the importance of “solidarity” among women.
As she put it, speaking of the 120 “women of courage” from more than 65 countries set to receive the award:
‘The fearlessness with which these women fight for equality and freedom in places far from the safety of their own homes, is remarkable. Their courage only furthers my belief in the powerful impact women can make through solidarity and support of one another. Our strength is something to be celebrated and I consider it a great privilege to have the opportunity to stand with these women and present them with awards they so justly deserve.’
She’s right, of course, but it’s not as though she’s making her statement in a vacuum, meaning that her overall omission of those who claim sexism against her husband is glaring, although unsurprising.
She’s not the first Trump associate to shy away from addressing the allegations of sexual misconduct against the president. The president’s daughter and unpaid adviser Ivanka Trump also did so, calling questions about the allegations “inappropriate” during a recent interview.
She made it clear during that same interview that she is with her father on the allegations.
Trump has always belligerently denied all of the allegations against him, including through such means as claiming to not know and/or have never met the women accusing him of misconduct.
In the face of his claims, PEOPLE magazine, a former employer of one Trump’s accusers, posted a photo of the president with one of the women.
As for the award that Melania will be presenting later this month, it’s the State Department’s only all-female award and was implemented by then-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in 2007 in honor of International Women’s Day.
Although it’s hardly as though the Trumps are on good terms with the Obamas, Michelle Obama participated in last year’s ceremony, which was also led by Melania.
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