Progressives in the national media often hurl accusations of “cultural appropriation,” and the latest example is Vox News, which accused President Donald Trump of “co-opting” the #MeToo movement by using the phrase “Presidential Harassment” to defend himself against impeachment and other political attacks.
On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted the words “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!” after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry. Vox claims this tweet was meant to “take a swipe” at the women of #MeToo.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2019
“Trump’s use of ‘presidential harassment’ has ramped up over time, as David A. Graham at the Atlantic noted in January,” wrote Vox’s Anna North. “It’s a way for the president to cast himself as an innocent victim of outside forces who are depressing his poll numbers and threatening his authority. But by using the word ‘harassment,’ Trump is also co-opting the language of the #MeToo movement. In recent years, countless women have come forward to report unwelcome sexual behavior by powerful men — including Trump himself. By using the same language, Trump is suggesting that he’s actually the real victim. It may be a way for him to speak to a Republican base that’s grown increasingly negative on #MeToo over time. By crying ‘presidential harassment’, Trump gets to repudiate investigations into his behavior and take a swipe at Democratic #MeToo supporters, in the space of a single tweet.”
North then claims that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican like the president, used the phrase “in a relatively neutral way,” simply because he was “arguing that Republicans had perpetrated harassment when they impeached President Bill Clinton in 1998.” Yet when Trump uses the exact same phrase against Democrats, it’s now a bridge to far.
“In referring to the Mueller investigation and the actions of Democrats in Congress as ‘harassment,’ Trump is using language Americans are more used to hearing the context of #MeToo — since the movement entered its most public phase in October 2017, more and more people have come forward to speak about sexual harassment they’ve experienced in the workplace and elsewhere,” North wrote.