Interviewed Tuesday night on “The Kelly File,” Gingrich accused the Fox anchor of having a personal agenda when she refused to agree with his declaration that the media are devoting too much time to stories about the growing number of allegations of sexual assault by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, whom Gingrich supports strongly. “You are fascinated by sex and you don’t care about public policy,” he charged, beginning a heated exchange between the two that many observers labeled “bizarre.”
Yet this live TV argument was in many ways completely predictable. Gingrich’s performance was in keeping with what we’ve already seen from Trump and his political allies. Not only was Gingrich stunningly unoriginal in his tactics, but he also fell short of his objective: to unnerve, bully and take Kelly down. Gingrich tried and failed to undermine Kelly as a journalist and above all as a powerful woman who speaks her mind and often puts gender concerns above party loyalty.
Here’s what went wrong for Gingrich. First, he’s not reading the mood of the country, including Republican women, when he dismisses Kelly’s concerns about “protection for women” as irrelevant. Women across the country have made it clear they feel insulted by Trump’s denials of documented abuses, and plenty of men agree with them. Gingrich need only read the polls on this issue
Gingrich’s comments to the contrary exposed him as hopelessly out of touch and downright sexist in saying that the rights of women to work and live without fear of harassment does not enter into the realm of “public policy.”