A vocal contingent of social media users slammed President Donald Trump for purportedly making a “misogynist” gesture toward his wife, Melania Trump, earlier this month.
In a video shared widely to Twitter on Wednesday, comedy writer James Felton highlighted Trump appearing to tap his thigh while waiting for Melania. The footage came from the president’s visit to El Paso, Texas, where a mass shooting took place in early August.
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) August 28, 2019
Felton captioned the video with an apparent allusion to comments made by Trump in October 2016, when he declared that “nobody respects women” more than he does.
“Donald Trump: ‘Nobody respects women more than me,'” Felton wrote. “Also Donald Trump: ‘Here girl, come here girl’ [pats leg] ‘come here wife, there’s a good girl.'”
“Heel wife,” Felton wrote in a subsequent tweet.
Several commenters replied to the clip by expressing their disdain for the president.
“I’m well aware he’s a crass, vulgar misogynist but I still found that clip shocking,” tweeted one Twitter user.
Other commenters ripped into the first lady, comparing her to a pet.
She can fetch a ball faster than any FLOTUS in history
— Ooo (@Breakout880) August 28, 2019
“Funny thing, he called his puppy … and his wife came instead..?” one commenter quipped.
Some users, however, suggested those who saw a misogynistic gesture were reaching.
“I’m as viciously anti-Trump as they come, and wouldn’t put it past him to do this, but this just seems like nervous energy,” wrote one commenter.
“Listen I think trump a pig and I think based on body language of videos I’ve seen Melania can’t stand to even touch him. However, she is on the other side of the car when he did it. I think this is a bit of a reach,” tweeted another.
Trump’s critics versus his supporters
Trump’s critics have long characterized the president’s behavior toward women as problematic. The release of the now-infamous “Access Hollywood” tape in 2016 certainly didn’t help Trump’s standing with detractors who accuse him of sexism.
But the president’s supporters say his haters are obsessively focused on finding fault with Trump’s behavior, even for innocuous and trivial actions.
Last year, therapists indicated a rise in what they unofficially diagnosed as “Trump Anxiety Disorder.” In a 2017 essay, clinical psychologist Jennifer Panning – who is credited with originally coining the term – described the symptoms of “Trum Anxiety disorder” as worrying about the state of the country, feeling helpless and out of control, and spending too much time on social media.