The darndest people have ants in their pants in the wake of the revelations of Donald Trump’s vulgar trash talk. Who knew such behavior still had the power to offend?
And people even more darndest are saying that trash talk has never blistered the walls of the nation’s locker rooms, where for decades boys have been boys, and some of them very bad boys, indeed.
The first lady, who for eight years has transformed the White House into the last surviving vaudeville venue (who needs Mozart when you might get Kanye West), revealed herself to be almost terminally offended by Donald Trump in a stump speech for Hillary Thursday in New Hampshire.
“Last week we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women,” she said. “I can’t believe that I’m saying that, a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.
“This was not just lewd conversation. This wasn’t just locker-room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV.”
Michelle Obama is right to be concerned, though she shouldn’t worry about what her daughters, lovely girls that they are, have heard at the most expensive private school in the nation’s capital. They’ve heard it already. The children of America, if they watch television, indulge the Internet, or listen to rap music they’ll hear things that would make the Donald’s ears burn.
To protect her children she must keep them upstairs in the family quarters, and away from some of the Hollywood stuff she and the mister frequently have in to entertain their guests.
Some of the rappers who perform in the house once occupied by Lincoln and Adams, Jefferson, Jackson and FDR, spin rhymes about their bitches and their ho’s, the thrill of killing cops and bringing down all manner of bad things on America.
Trashy behavior is not only invited into the White House, but the first lady’s husband has bestowed honors on some of those who have tracked trash into the house. Neither should the first lady allow the girls to watch the video of Dad on his campaign plane, where he once displayed an erection through his pants to tempt and tease the lady reporters in the front seats.
But it’s good, as she said in New Hampshire, that decent men don’t talk the way the Donald talked a decade and more ago. And it’s good, too, to get the reassurance from no less than LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers that the Donald was wrong about locker rooms. The locker rooms of the NBA are where only the thoughtful and erudite wisdom of champions can be heard, and there’s never a harsh or naughty word to disturb those reading quietly from their Gideon Bibles.
What the Donald did was not locker room talk, Mr. James says, but “trash talk.” The distinction is important, he says, but he didn’t say what it was. “We don’t disrespect women in no shape or form in our locker room. That never comes up. We don’t disrespect women in our locker room.” That will be reassuring to the baby mamas of the men in the NBA locker rooms, some of whom have not one, or two, or three or even four different baby mamas, but more, and eight or nine kids. The daddies have to work so hard on their slam dunks and inside game to pay for school, piano and ballet lessons that they just have no time for trash talk.
Michelle, of course, is not responsible for what her husband does when she’s not there to keep him in line when young ladies are present, any more than Hillary is in charge of Bubba’s zipper. But Hillary is responsible for the character assassinations she instigated and supervised of the women Bubba abused. Hillary believes the women who said they were raped, because she says women never lie about sexual assault.
Michelle is responsible for the speeches she makes, exonerating the high crimes and misdemeanors of those who throw sticks and stones at Donald Trump, who has done no more than certain high Democrats of her acquaintance. It’s wrong when the Donald does it, and wrong when Democrats do it.
Something good could come from this tawdry presidential campaign that seems to have no end. Women, perhaps led by a past and present first lady, could lead a clean-up of the culture. God knows the culture needs it, and only women could get it done. But it will require more than throwing the first stone.
• Wesley Pruden is editor-in-chief emeritus of The Times.