After nearly a week of endless media coverage on the subject of whether a new, more “presidential” Donald Trump would emerge in the final months of the Republican primary, the New York businessman had his chance to appear just that on Tuesday night. Standing amid supporters at Trump Tower after five overwhelming primary victories, Trump presided over a rambling and pointless news conference, which managed to rehash all of his other news conferences, but at greater length. The personal attacks were still there, although his hatred of Ted Cruz seems to have abated at least a little bit; this time it was John Kasich who took more sustained fire. On the whole, Trump was the same as he has always been: unfocused, compelling, mean, and utterly absurd.
But there was still one moment, near the end of the event, that stood out. Trump was asked a question about Hillary Clinton, and he replied as follows:
I think the only card she has is the woman’s card. She’s got nothing else going. And frankly: If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card. The beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.
Chris Christie’s wife, Mary Pat Christie, was not amused:
And with that, the event was over.
As Franklin Foer wrote in Slate last month, misogyny is the single most binding aspect of Trump’s worldview, and always has been. The disgust with which he spoke about Clinton is quite evidently something he cannot hide. Given how he becomes increasingly nasty to people who insult him, and given that we are now facing more than six months of sustained Trump v. Clinton combat, expect Trump’s ugly misogyny to ratchet up several notches. Even if he somehow manages to start appearing more presidential in other respects—Tuesday night he conceded that he might “act differently” in the general—his nastiness toward women is not going to go away.