Donald Trump, among other things, is known for his provocative statements about women. Throughout the course of his life, Trump has consistently made derogatory comments regarding the female sex. Since he announced his candidature last year, he has run into a long-lasting feud with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, has said women who abort ought to be punished, and even attacked Hillary Clinton because of her gender. And while those remarks have exposed his blatant misogyny on more than one occasion, Trump -- like he usually does -- has managed to evade further scrutiny thanks to his endless supply of news-generating comments and tweets.
But Trump's encounter with one particular woman could undo all his hard-work even as he attempts to improve his performance with the only demographic that could make or break his presidential hopes against Hillary Clinton -- the women.
In 1992, Donald Trump met businesswoman Jill Harth at the Trump Tower in New York and almost immediately turned her into a sexual object.
"Right off the bat, Donald made it very clear at that meeting that he was interested in me," Harth told WNYC radio recently in her first candid interview about the relationship she shares with the Republican nominee.
What is clear from Harth's description of the meeting, and the incidents that followed, is that Donald Trump never recognized Harth in her professional capacity as a beauty pageant promoter who had come to strike a business deal with him, but only saw her as an object of desire he had to have at any cost. Harth, who had been attending the meeting with her professional partner and then-fiance George Houraney, described being shocked at the crassness of Trump's approach.
"He made a remark during the very first meeting and asked point blank if we were sleeping together — during the middle, in the middle of the presentation," Harth recalled.
Later, Trump forced Jill Harth into a bedroom, according to her description of the events, and attempted to rape her.
"At the time I was very shocked, shocked was the word. And I am the type of person, even still, I get kind of a delayed reaction to things. It was a shock and I pushed him off of me. And I was, I said to him, What are you doing, why are you doing this? He put out that he's the type of guy that gets what he wants. Donald gets what he wants. And he was annoyed and insulted that I wasn't going for it with him. I believe, in his mind, he was — this was a come on for him, some kind of romantic overture. Whereas for me, it was unwanted and aggressive, very sexually aggressive."
This was not an isolated incident by any means, one of the reasons that Jill Harth is so forthcoming about her experience with Trump now. The New York Times' recent investigation into how Donald Trump behaved with women in private confirms what many of us already feared: Trump thinks of himself as an alpha male who inherited the best qualities from his unyielding father. However, the truth of the matter is that Trump is a misogynist of the first-degree who has constantly undermined the women who have worked with him and the women he has had romantic relationships with over the years.One of the things particularly noteworthy in Jill's description is her belief that "Donald gets what he wants." It is one of the oft-used arguments by Trump's supporters who believe that it is in his nature to get things done, a quality which Trump has also constantly highlighted as a necessary ingredient for the next president of the United States. His boisterous supporters live by this logic, but by the evidence at hand here, it is more like Donald Trump would use his power to attack vulnerable people rather than forcing a heavy hand on someone who is equally powerful. In such a scenario, Donald getting what he wants only applies to when he knows he can force it. When he can't, Trump would probably have to suck it up.
But with women, Donald Trump certainly appears to believe that he can force it, because, in his misogynistic, patriarchal point of view, women are not equal to men. It is for this reason if Donald Trump loses to Hillary Clinton -- who, by the way, has herself been no torchbearer for women's rights -- it will hurt him the most.
And Jill Harth could play a big role in making that happen.
[Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images]