President Donald Trump slapped adult film actress Stormy Daniels with a demeaning new nickname on Tuesday, making her the latest of several prominent women whose personal appearance he’s insulted.
Trump derided Daniels as “horseface” in a tweet gloating over a judge’s Monday dismissal of a defamation lawsuit Daniels, represented by her lawyer Michael Avenatti, had filed against the president.
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The epithet, which caused an uproar on Twitter and cable news, also unsettled some of the president’s Republican allies, who are nervous about the president alienating women in the weeks before the November midterm elections. Trump has spent much of the past two days ridiculing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma.) in terms that some critics call sexit. And less than two weeks ago, Trump publicly mocked Christine Blasey Ford, who accused his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of teenaged sexual assault.
In a Tuesday morning tweet citing a Fox News report on the dismissal of Daniels’s lawsuit, Trump said: “Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer in the Great State of Texas.”
“She knows nothing about me, a total con!” he added.
The timing of Trump’s attack confused some of his GOP allies. One former White House official, who said “plenty of descriptive terms” were used to describe Daniels inside the West Wing, found the president’s tweet troublesome with the midterm elections are three weeks away.
“It’s not going to impact his base—stuff like this never does—but it makes it tougher for Republican candidates to attract suburban women and it makes it tougher for women to believe their president respects them,” the official said.
Daniels had sued the president after he wrote in an April tweet that her public claim to have been physically threatened against coming forward about her alleged affair with Trump several years ago was “a total con job.” District Judge S. James Otero of the Central District of California dismissed the lawsuit on Monday.
Avenatti, who has appealed that decision, responded with a warning that he and Daniels would soon “demonstrate to the world what a complete shyster and liar you are.”
The president is a “disgusting misogynist and an embarrassment to the United States,” the lawyer wrote on Twitter. “How many other women did you cheat on your wife with while you had a baby at home?” (Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claims she slept with Trump shortly after his wife Melania had given birth.)
Daniels also fired back herself, saying Trump’s comments “demonstrated his incompetence, hatred of women and lack of self control.”
She also appeared to debut her own nickname for the president, ending the tweet with: “Game on, Tiny.”
For Republicans already worried about female turnout on Nov. 6, the problem isn’t just how the president has treated Daniels or Ford. Since the 2016 campaign, Trump has belittled or mocked at least a half-dozen other women on the basis of their personal appearance.
He infamously claimed former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever” following her questioning in a GOP primary debate; suggested Republican voters might have a tough time supporting presidential candidate Carly Fiorina because of her “face;” retweeted a meme implying his own wife was more attractive than Sen. Ted Cruz’s spouse; said during an ABC News interview that Hillary Clinton lacked “a presidential look;” urged Americans to “check out” a supposed sex tape belonging to 1996 Miss Universe winner Alicia Machado, whom he also called “disgusting;” and alleged in a tweet shared by nearly 20,000 people that MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” during a New Years Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago club.
And just hours before tweeting about Daniels, the president went after Warren, a likely 2020 Democratic candidate, for attempting to prove her claims of Native American ancestry by releasing the results of a DNA analysis.
tweet“Now that her claims of being of being of Indian heritage have turned out to be a scam and a lie, Elizabeth Warren should apologize for perpetrating this fraud against the American Public. Harvard called her a ‘person of color’ (amazing con), and would not have taken her otherwise!” Trump wrote.
Trump also made fun of Ford, the woman who accused Kavanaugh of attempted rape, at a Mississippi rally last month. Mimicking her testimony before the crowd, he repeatedly referenced Ford’s inability to recall certain details about the alleged incident—including how she got to the party where she claims the assault occurred, or the exact year when it may have happened—and suggested the “only thing” she did remember was her underage consumption of alcohol.
“What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs — where was it? I don’t know — but I had one beer,” he said.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll taken days after Kavanaugh was sworn in, and just over a week after Trump publicly mocked his accuser, found that 58 percent of women disapproved of his confirmation, compared to 35 percent who supported it. Those results were released on the heels of a another survey, by George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, in which 64 percent of battleground voters said the Supreme Court and other judicial nominations would play an “extremely important” role as they decide which candidates to support next month.
What was previously a concern for Republicans has seemingly become a glaring eleventh-hour problem. White women with college degrees now favor Democratic candidates by nearly 30 points, according to the aforementioned survey, and Trump appears to be doing little to stop the bleeding.
The question GOP candidates now face is whether the same forces at play in 2016, when 52 percent of white women propelled Trump to victory even after he was caught on tape making lewd comments about chasing women, can keep them afloat on Election Day.
One recent figure Republicans have seized on: the percentage of non-college educated white women, a group that overwhelmingly backed Trump in 2016, planning to participate in the midterms is up 12 points from 2014, according to a poll released Sunday.
It’s not clear what Trump is referring to when he wrote he will “go after” Daniels and Avenatti, who says he is contemplating a Democratic presidential bid. Avenatti is from California, but Daniels lives in Texas and the judge applied Texas law in dismissing the libel suit. He also ordered her to pay Trump’s attorneys’ fees.