Chris Collins: He-Man Culture Warrior

Trumpdinolins

To paraphrase a line from Hamilton, well, you’re never gon’ be secret’ry now. 

The local axis of Donald Trump sycophant/enablers stands steadfastly by its man. Nick Langworthy, Chris Collins, Carl Paladino have no problem with anything that Trump has said or done. Muslims, Mexicans, Immigrants, women, Miss Teen USA contestants, Apprentice sound guys, Miss Universe winners, Gold Star Parents, a native-born federal judge of Mexican descentfallen soldiers, veterans with PTSD – there seems literally not to exist a person or group that Donald Trump won’t demean and degrade, and there exists a concomitant bottomless pit of resulting delight from his core supporters. 

To Trump’s cult, degradation and insult are added value, not a flaw. 

You can’t be surprised, though. Langworthy doesn’t react because no one in the local press corps asks him to. Collins? On October 12th, he’s reportedly doubling down on his support of Trump, despite saying on October 8th that Trump’s admission of sexual assault was, “frankly unacceptable”. Well, clearly it’s acceptable, after all. I would guess that the difference in Collins’ attitude and tone has to do with admonitions from the Trump campaign and its perimeter guards like Carl Paladino, who just a year ago quite literally went out of his way to defend a guy caught on tape calling the Mayor of the City of Buffalo and other local African-American politicians, “nigger”. 

What we’re left with, America, is a situation where the guy who boasted to Billy Bush about how he makes unwanted sexual advances and assaults on women still finds support for his Presidential bid, while Billy Bush is fired from NBC for laughing at them. 

At the Tire Fire 2nd Presidential Debate last Sunday, Anderson Cooper asked Trump whether he had actually committed the sex assault he bragged about. Trump denied it. That prompted more of his victims to finally come out and tell their stories. A former Miss Teen USA Kamie Crawford tweetstormed a disturbing story about Trump’s racist attitude towards Black people. Two separate women, Rachel Crooks and Jessica Leeds, went to the New York Times, explaining in detail how Trump groped them. Mindy McGillivray told the Palm Beach Post that Trump grabbed her buttocks while she was working as a photographer’s assistant at Mar-a-Lago. Other Miss Teen USA contestants, including Tasha Dixon, told the press how Trump would barge into the dressing room while girls as young as fifteen were naked, according to former contestant Mariah Billado. Indeed, Trump boasted of this inappropriate dressing room conduct to Howard Stern. People Magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff wrote that, “We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.” The next morning, Trump arranged for Stoynoff to have a massage in a fully booked facility, and skulked around, lying in wait. She passed on the massage. Finally, to turn the creep factor up a bit, a 46 year-old Trump commented about how he would be dating a passing 10 year-old girl in 10 years

The timing? These women are coming forward because Trump lied in response to a direct question about whether he had engaged in this sort of sexually aggressive, assaultive, indecent, and improper conduct. He denied it, and they’re going to tell their stories. 

So, after being appropriately admonished, Trump’s first congressional backer – the guy who wants to be Secretary of Commerce – is today quite adamant about his continued support for Trump. Let’s start with this startling admission: 

Collins said he has not had talks with the Trump campaign in the wake of The Washington Post story that exposed that 2005 video where Trump spoke crudely about women.

But when asked, Collins went on CNN and the Fox Business Network to defend the candidate after the video surfaced.

Collins did so even though he’s never seen the full video that caused the controversy. Instead, he said he’s heard snippets of it and read full accounts of it in the news media.

Asked why he had not seen the full video, Collins said: “Because I’d rather watch ‘American Pickers,’ ” a reality show on the History Channel that documents the travels of two antique collectors.

That’s Collins’ favorite show, but as for the controversial Trump video, Collins said: “I had no reason to see it.”

He never saw the tape he was defending. Never heard it. Went on TV, and talks to Jerry Zremski from the Buffalo News about how he continues to support Donald Trump even after the release of a tape he knows nothing about. 

The litmus test for finding fault with Trump’s comments is merely, “decency”. So, setting that aside, Collins has daughters, a wife. If someone talked of them this way, would he feel differently? “I did try and fuck her. She was married…I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look…Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”

Zremski continues,

Collins was combative, dismissing Trump’s comments in the video as mere words and, like Trump, contrasting them to the actual sexual indiscretions that resulted in the impeachment of Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Got that? Bill Clinton is a womanizer, therefore two wrongs make a right. 

 

“I was concerned” upon hearing about the video, the Clarence congressman said in a phone interview. “They were inappropriate words, to say the least, and I’ve said that. I needed to hear Donald Trump apologize, and he did.”

The relevant text of Trump’s apology: “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.” I think the Howard Stern tapes reveal these words to exactly reflect who he is. I think his vitriol towards any woman who criticizes him – Rosie O’Donnell, Alicia Machado, Megyn Kelly – reveals exactly who he is.  

Moreover, Collins noted that Trump said he never actually touched a woman the way he described in the video. “He didn’t do it,” Collins said. “He said he didn’t do it. But we do know that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted women.”

What? The woman against whom Trump made these advances has been identified as Nancy O’Dell of Access Hollywood. But again: if it’s bad when Bill Clinton does it, doesn’t it follow that it’s bad when Donald Trump does it? (And he’s very much alleged to have done it – not just to adults, but to juveniles.) After bringing up Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky, Collins makes the failed connection to Hillary Clinton: 

“Bill Clinton preyed on women for decades with her (Hillary Clinton), frankly, acting as his enabler,” said Collins, dubbing the Democratic nominee “a phony feminist.”

That was just part of a tirade Collins launched against Hillary Clinton – about her role as secretary of state during the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and a host of other instances throughout her career.

“She’s had 30 years of abject failure in every job she’s held,” Collins said. “The country can’t survive four years of Hillary Clinton as president.”

That’s what they said about the first four years of Obama. 

And the second four. 

It’s a lie.

It’s just propaganda uttered by another Washington insider career politician. Collins just wants the cabinet post he’ll never, ever get. Here’s the pitch: 

Trump is the “change agent” Washington needs to bring back jobs, to secure America’s borders and to get tough on Russia, Collins said.

Challenged about Trump’s praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Collins dismissed the question as “a liberal bullshit line,” and threatened to hang up.

At the Commander-in-Chief Forum in September

I’ve already said [Putin] is very much of a leader. The man has very strong control over his country. You can say, “Oh, isn’t that a terrible thing,” I mean, the man has very strong control over his country. Now it’s a very different system, and I don’t happen to like the system, but certainly in that system he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.

At various other times

[Putin is] “doing a great job” in “rebuilding Russia,”and “I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin.” After Putin called Trump a “talented person” last year, he returned the favor: “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”

It may be a “liberal bullshit line”, but it’s also one that apparently concerns the cadres at the National Review

Here are some more examples of Chris Collins’ Presidential candidate heaping praise on a neo-fascist authoritarian dictator

  • October 2007: “I mean this guy has done—whether you like him or don’t like him—he’s doing a great job in rebuilding the image of Russia and also rebuilding Russia period.”
  • June 2013: “Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow—if so, will he become my new best friend?”
  • March 2014: “I believe Putin will continue to re-build the Russian Empire. He has zero respect for Obama or the U.S.!” Also: “Putin has become a big hero in Russia with an all time high popularity. Obama, on the other hand, has fallen to his lowest ever numbers. SAD”
  • May 2014: “I was in Russia, I was in Moscow recently and I spoke, indirectly and directly, with President Putin, who could not have been nicer, and we had a tremendous success.”
  • October 2015: (Re: the downing of MH17), “They say it wasn’t them,” he says. “It may have been their weapon, but they didn’t use it, they didn’t fire it, they even said the other side fired it to blame them. I mean to be honest with you, you’ll probably never know for sure.”
  • December 2015: “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader. Unlike what we have in this country.”
  • July 2016: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he says during a news conference. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Finally, as to the criticism that Donald Trump insulted the Gold Star Khan family, Collins reveals,

It makes my skin crawl when I hear people say that Donald Trump insulted a Gold Star family, that he’s best friends with Vladimir Putin,” Collins said, referring to the family of the late Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq.

Well, then it must make his skin crawl a lot. Here’s what Sen. John McCain said about the Khans in response to Donald Trump’s unhinged, insane defamation of them:

“It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party,” McCain said. “While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us. Lastly, I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America. We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation — and he will never be forgotten.”

And Senator Lindsey Graham

This is going to a place where we’ve never gone before, to push back against the families of the fallen. There used to be some things that were sacred in American politics — that you don’t do — like criticizing the parents of a fallen soldier even if they criticize you.”

Because Donald Trump said this about the Khans

“Who wrote that? Did Hillary’s scriptwriters write it?” Trump said in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard.”

and

Mr. Trump told Mr. Stephanopoulos that Mr. Khan seemed like a “nice guy” and that he wished him “the best of luck.” But, he added, “If you look at his wife, she was standing there, she had nothing to say, she probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say, you tell me.”

and, 

I’d like to hear his wife say something.

The fact remains that Chris Collins and Donald Trump would implement a complete ban – a religious test – on Muslims entering the United States. It’s not going to be a “virtual wall”, and Trump isn’t discussing a “rhetorical deportation” of 12 million people. All of this white identity and race hatred is something that might play well in some pockets of western New York, but is nevertheless wholly unbecoming of a representative who is sworn to serve all the people – not just the white Christians. Maybe Collins sleeps better at night by kidding himself about what he’s promoting. 

Chris Collins is just another bullshit artist culture warrior, deflecting people’s attention from his horrific record as County Executive and his worthless, achievement-free time moistening a seat in the House. Here’s something else Collins wants: a ban on all abortion, even when the life of the mother is at risk, or where the pregnancy is the result of the kind of rape that his candidate Donald Trump stands accused. Collins’ opponent, Democrat Diana Kastenbaum, characterizes this as Chris Collins’ “war on women”. 

Kastenbaum, by contrast, had this to say about Trump’s boasts of sexual assault, 

I am sickened by the comments that have been made by Donald Trump regarding women. They have also been reinforced by his surrogates who continue to defend him and his misogynistic old boys’ club. Even my opponent, Rep. Chris Collins (R), stands by his man.

There is a particular type of ugliness when women are made fun of, degraded and dismissed. However, we shouldn’t be surprised because we’ve seen it before throughout Donald Trump’s campaign. What is most disturbing though is the merry band of men and women who support him and echo his words. Some may not say it out loud, but their very support of him speaks volumes.

He crossed the line years ago when he accused President Obama of not being a U.S. citizen. He crossed the line when he called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. He crossed the line when he mocked a disabled reporter. He crossed the line when he said John McCain was not a hero and that POWs were not heroes because they allowed themselves to be captured. He crossed the line when he disparaged a Gold Star family. And yet, his defenders tried to tell us how we misinterpreted or misread his statements. We waited patiently for the press and media to question him, call him out on his bigotry and prejudices, but the lies kept coming and his surrogates kept getting their sound bites.

Now the attack is on all women – our daughters, our mothers, our grandmothers. Finally people are getting angry and saying they have crossed the line for the last time. But have they? Mr. Collins has not. In spite of the now growing list of Republicans saying they cannot support a President who says such things, Mr. Collins has said “there is no change in my support of Mr. Trump as our nominee”.

This latest degradation of women should offend everyone, even Chris Collins, and it is amongst a long list of abusive behavior. I am a Mom who has a daughter. My instinct is to immediately try and shield her from these horrible comments, just as my Mother would have done for me and my grandmother before her. I ask myself, “who brought this man up?” Who raises these people to hate women so?

Mr. Trump and Mr. Collins, women are 51% of the population and we vote. We are married to men who respect their wives, their mothers, their daughters and they vote. We have sons and daughters whom we have brought up to be fair, open, non-prejudiced, wonderful human beings who want a better world without bullies, bigots and misogynists and they vote too.

The time has come for all the voters in NY27 to take a long, hard and unbiased look at the candidates and when you cast your vote I hope you take into consideration the kind of country you want to leave to your children. It has to be about issues, but it must also be about a person’s character as well. We should all keep in mind the words of Billy Graham, “when wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.”

It’s not exactly a war on just women. It’s a war on decency. I guess there’s not much more to expect from guys like Chris Collins, who casually demand a “lap dance” from prominent businesswomen. Trump and his cult have crossed too many “lines” to count, and all of it – in the aggregate – would have destroyed a thousand campaigns. 

I’ll pass along another anecdote about what kind of world Donald Trump is enabling – breathing new life into racial animus and white supremacy. Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year – began at sundown on October 2nd. After services, Diana Kastenbaum exited Temple Emanu-El on Bank Street in Batavia before her husband and daughter to get in the car, and she heard unusually loud male voices coming from a house on the street. As the Kastenbaums pulled into the street, they heard someone shout “Heil Hitler” at them.  Shocked, they drove to the corner and decided to come back down the street again.  As their car approached the house from where the epithet came, there were two or three men sitting on a darkened porch.  Someone on that porch shouted, “Heil Hitler” at the Kastenbaums two more times, very loudly. They stopped in front of the house and rolled down the window and Kastenbaum’s husband, Hiram Kasten, said, “what’s up with that?”  The anti-Semites on the porch immediately backed down and said, “we didn’t mean anything by it”.  Kasten then said, “why don’t you come out here to the street and let’s talk about that”.  They said again, “we didn’t mean anything by it”.  Kasten yelled at them that it was against the law and anti-Semitic.  They did not say anything else and the family drove home. 

People like the Batavia porch nazis that Kastenbaum’s family had to endure after New Year’s services have become emboldened by Donald Trump and his appeals to white resentment, Islamophobia, xenophobia, and race hate. It’s called the “Trump Effect” and it’s polluting the country. 

It’s producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported.

Other students have been emboldened by the divisive, often juvenile rhetoric in the campaign. Teachers have noted an increase in bullying, harassment and intimidation of students whose races, religions or nationalities have been the verbal targets of candidates on the campaign trail.

Carl Paladino can defend misogyny, sexual assault, and racism yet still be elected to a school board in western New York. Chris Collins can pretty much do whatever he wants and be Congressman for life. Let’s at least try and make a dent on the latter. Contribute to Diana Kastenbaum, a CEO running for the NY-27 seat. Like most of us, she has the common sense to know right-wing apologia for sexual assault, racism, and abject contempt for everything America stands for. Freedom, opportunity, and a new nation of immigrants striving together to do the right thing even in difficult times.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.