As Donald Trump boasted on Twitter about finally losing the “shackles” that the Republican Party has put on his presidential campaign, a group of 20 millennial women demonstrated outside the GOP headquarters, demanding party chair Reince Priebus un-endorse Trump “for the sake of women, democracy, and our country.”
The sit-in came after a weekend firestorm sparked by leaked tapes that showed Trump bragging about how his star power allows him to kiss and grope women with impunity. The revelations have led to an all-out war within the Republican Party, with some members disavowing the GOP nominee and others “tying themselves in tightening knots in an attempt to argue that touching women’s genitalia without consent, as described by…Trump, does not constitute sexual assault,” as the Guardian wrote.
The Republican National Committee (RNC), for its part, told reporters on Monday that “the RNC is in full coordination with the Trump campaign, and we have a great relationship with them.”
For the women and their allies outside the RNC headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday morning, anything less than full withdrawal of support is merely further evidence that the “Republican Party has always been an old boys club for rich and powerful white men,” as millennial-led group #AllOfUs2016, which coordinated the action, said in a press statement.
“Millennial women won’t tolerate Trump’s disgusting and dangerous sexism,” said 24-year-old Natalie Green, who participated in the sit-in. “Chairman Priebus and Speaker [Paul] Ryan must un-endorse Donald Trump, otherwise the Republican Party is just another place where ‘locker room talk’ demeaning women is acceptable for millions of men across the country.”
Also Tuesday, the national women’s advocacy organization UltraViolet Action took out a full-page ad in the Post featuring the voices of more than 3,000 survivors of sexual assault calling on Republican leaders, candidates, and elected officials to denounce Trump’s misogyny.
Indeed, Trump’s Twitter storm on Tuesday—in which he bashed Ryan as a “very weak and ineffective leader;” claimed that “the Dems have always proven to be far more loyal to each other than the Republicans;” and vowed to teach “disloyal” Republicans “how to win”—suggests that mainstream conservatives have some room to distance themselves from their sexist nominee.
To that end, Politico cites anonymous sources in reporting that “there’s a distinct possibility Ryan will go a step further [than he has thus far] and completely yank his endorsement.”
And on a more substantive note, journalist David Dayen argued Tuesday that Republicans who have ostensibly rejected Trump must be forced “to take an actual and not merely rhetorical position on respect for women.”
From the Paycheck Fairness Act to supporting comprehensive paid family leave, Dayen wrote, there are abundant opportunities for Republicans to prove that their support for women goes beyond political machinations.
Doing so would address the concerns of 23-year-old Ambar Pinto, among those who protested outside the RNC on Tuesday.
“We know that Donald Trump’s dangerous sexism and racism are not an aberration,” she said. “When confronted about sexism and sexual assault, Trump began fear-mongering about Muslims and the specter of ISIS. This is what the GOP always does. They support sexist and racist policies through a narrative of hate and fear to divide the American people from each other.”
This post first appeared in Common Dreams.