Veteran conservative columnist Mona Charen was booed Saturday at a right-wing confab for calling out Republican hypocrisy on sexual harassment – and she’s glad she was.
Charen was on a panel discussing the #MeToo movement at the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, D.C. Asked about feminist hypocrisy concerning sexual harassment, she turned instead to Republican hypocrisy. She said she was “disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women, and because he happens to have an ‘R’ after his name, we look the other way, we don’t complain.“
She did not name Donald Trump, but it was clear she was talking about him. She also denounced the Republican Party’s backing of accused pedophile Roy Moore for U.S. senator from Alabama and the inclusion of anti-Semitic French political activist Maréchal-Le Pen at CPAC. There were boos from the audience, mixed with applause, and Charen had to be escorted from the building by security.
In a New York Times op-ed published today, headlined “I’m Glad I Got Booed at CPAC,” Charen explained why she said what she did.
The moderator “asked us about feminist hypocrisy,” she wrote. “Ask me that at a cocktail party and I will talk your ear off about how the very people who had lectured us about the utter venality of workplace sexual harassment throughout the 1980s became suddenly quiescent when the malefactor was Bill Clinton.
“But this time, and particularly in front of this crowd, it felt far more urgent to point out the hypocrisy of our side. How can conservative women hope to have any credibility on the subject of sexual harassment or relations between the sexes when they excuse the behavior of President Trump? And how can we participate in any conversation about sexual ethics when the Republican president and the Republican Party backed a man credibly accused of child molestation for the United States Senate?” The latter was a reference to Moore.
As a “traditional conservative,” Charen wrote, she has felt like an outsider in the Republican Party and the conservative movement since the rise of Trump. Speaking out is necessary for “those of us who refuse to be absorbed into this brainless, sinister, clownish thing called Trumpism … those of us who refuse to overlook the fools, frauds and fascists attempting to glide along in his slipstream into respectability,” she continued.
She noted that “there remains a vigorous remnant of dissenters,” including some who were at CPAC. As she left, one of her fellow panelists praised her bravery. “I hope she’s encouraged,” Charen wrote. “I am.”
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