It’s not because they like her. It’s not because they agree with her. Instead, they’re looking past politics to see her value as a woman – to condemn the rumor that she cheated on her husband with the president.
That rumor resurfaced Sunday night, after the Grammy Awards, when celebrities and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton read excerpts from Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. Haley criticized the decision on Twitter.
“I have always loved the Grammys but to have artists read the Fire and Fury book killed it,” she tweeted. “Don’t ruin great music with trash. Some of us love music without the politics thrown in it.”
Many in the media concluded her indignation was related to Wolff recently insisting to HBO host Bill Maher that he was “absolutely sure” President Trump was having an extramarital affair. When he added that the audience should “read between the lines” of his book to solve the puzzle, outlets like Slate cited excerpts concerning Haley.
Even though Haley called the accusations “absolutely not true” and “disgusting” in a Politico podcast Friday, the gossip continued. But many others defended her. Chiefly, Bari Weiss of The New York Times. She called out the left’s “double-standard” on women in an opinion piece:
A prominent Republican woman is smeared. The author who does the smearing is celebrated by all the A-listers, including the most prominent Democratic woman in the country, who herself has a history of giving a pass (or worse) to men accused of sexual assault and harassment. And yet the arbiters of American culture cheer the Democrat and, in the words of the actor Don Cheadle, tell the Republican who has the gall to defend herself: ‘Sit down, girl. You’re drunk.’
But Haley not only found an ally in Weiss, but also in the feminist media.
On Monday, a Refinery29 headline warned, “Stop Saying The Women In Trump’s Administration Must Be Sleeping With Him.” Pointing to Haley, as well as allegations against White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and advisor Kellyanne Conway, writer Andrea González-Ramírez slammed the hearsay.
“These speculations are downright insulting,” she stressed, “and by going into the old-age stereotype that women can’t find success unless they sleep their way to the top, we’re completely erasing the accomplishments of these women.”
Like Weiss, González-Ramírez called out the double standard on women.
Claiming these women climbed the ranks through extramarital affairs with their boss “is demeaning,” she wrote, “and wouldn’t be acceptable in many circles if it was directed at someone such as [Democratic] Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.”
“[S]aying they are sleeping with the president without offering proof, reducing them to just a messed up stereotype,” she concluded, is a “cheap misogynistic shot.”
Similarly, Bustle boasted a strong headline Friday: “Don’t You Dare Say Another High-Profile Conservative Woman Is Trump’s ‘Mistress.’”
“Every time we suggest that an attractive, successful woman must have gained a position of power in Trump’s administration through romantic means, we undermine her,” wrote editor Jenny Hollander. “We suggest that being attractive and young … is these women’s form of currency, and more valuable than any skills or experience.”
According to Hollander, the accusations targeted Haley as a woman.
“[T]o suggest that successful women in Trump’s orbit are only there because they’re sleeping with him,” she concluded, is “sexist.” While she acknowledged her readers may not like the president or Haley (and Conway and Hicks) they should still “give them the credit they deserve.”
That same day, on Friday, Daily Beast editor Erin Gloria Ryan chimed in during CNN’s State of America – targeting Wolff.
“This story itself strikes me, as a feminist, as really, really sexist and terrible,” she said. “It’s awful that Nikki Haley has to take time out of her day, take time out of her job, to address these allegations, that were just kind of thrown out with no real evidence from the writer of a book who has kind of a questionable past history and relationship with the truth.”
While the feminist media haven’t been friendly towards women who disagree with them, this is a step in the right direction: acknowledging the worth of women, no matter their politics.