At a rally in North Carolina Friday, Donald Trump took issue with the idea that, at the second presidential debate, he did something improper by lurking behind Hillary Clinton while she spoke. Clinton herself addressed Trump’s body language in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres this week, accurately calling it “odd” and “really weird,” and saying she could “feel his presence” behind her.
During his speech Friday, Trump revealed what he was thinking during those moments: This lady sure is unfuckable.
His exact words: “I’m standing at my podium and she walks in front of me, right? She walks in front of me, you know, and when she walked in front of me, believe me, I wasn’t impressed.”
The line could semi-plausibly be interpreted to mean that Trump was not intimidated by Clinton—as in, “The huge wheels on your truck don’t impress me; I’m pretty sure I could still beat you in a mud-pull.”
Based on the applause and laughter the line drew from the North Carolina crowd, though, it’s safe to say Trump’s fans interpreted the remark the other way. Who could blame them? The joke, such as it is, is tonally identical to certain other faux-subtle jokes Trump has been making—namely, the ones about how the women who have accused him of groping are too ugly to sexually assault. It also fits with another comment he made about the lurking accusation after the debate: “What did the paper say? They said, ‘he invaded her space.’ Believe me, the last space that I want to invade is her space. Believe me. I don’t want to invade her space.”
It’s the same idea: this woman is not worthy of my lechery—and therefore, through some Trumpish chain of reasoning, not worthy of the presidency. The smugness in his delivery is telling, also. The truth is that Trump may not have even been truly thinking these misogynistic things while Clinton was speaking in front of him—he just wants his fans to believe that he was because in his mind, that’s what a cool guy would think.
New York writer Rebecca Traister got it absolutely right about the “not impressed” comment, writing on Twitter, “It was only a matter of time.”
In retrospect, assuming that things will continue to deteriorate is a much more realistic way to think about the trajectory of this election season than “have we hit rock bottom yet?”—a question we have been forced to ask over and over. The reality is, with Trump now thoroughly “unshackled,” we won’t hit bottom until his campaign finally ends.