The former spokeswoman for Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, who President Donald J. Trump endorsed for her possible run for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, co-wrote a September 7, 2016 “Marie Claire” article, “In Defense of Melania Trump,” that criticized how Trump treats women and referred to Melania Trump’s nude modeling.
“And good old-fashioned slut shaming is alive and well: Mrs. Trump was also subject to scrutiny for past nude modeling photos, despite that she was a reputable model,” wrote Samantha E. Vinogard and Ortagus, who was a media surrogate for one of Trump’s rivals for the GOP nomination that year, John E. “Jeb” Bush.
Ortagus gave Jeb Bush’s campaign and his Right to Rise PAC $3,200 that cycle, and wrote other articles for the magazine with Vinogard, a CNN national security analyst and former Obama administration official. Vinogard is now a senior counselor for national security at the Department of Homeland Security and acting Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention.
The two women also worked in the article that the future First Lady was a plagiarist:
It’s true: Melania Trump has been a somewhat easy target this presidential election, between cribbing parts of her RNC speech from Michelle Obama and appearing otherwise aloof to the people and their process. But now, after the hopeful First Lady has filed a libel suit against two media outlets for claiming, with seemingly no proof, that she had been involved with an escort service in the past, we—a Republican and a Democrat—can’t help but come to her defense.
As the article unfolds, Ortagus and Vinoguard’s backhanded defense of Mrs. Trump includes that lurid detail one more time: “But while we take Mrs. Trump at her word that the allegations are false, it begs the larger question: Why is this still the go-to strategy for challenging powerful women?”
For the record: The Daily Mail paid Mrs. Trump a settlement and gave an unreserved apology.
The article closes with a swipe at then-candidate Donald Trump for using words to demean women, which was one of the anti-Trump themes used by his 2016 opponent former First Lady Hillary R. Clinton.
Bottom line: All politicians should be held accountable for this bias against women—including Melania’s husband, Donald Trump. Trump often has demeaning words for women he doesn’t like, from going after Carly Fiorina’s looks to telling Katy Tur, a reputable female journalist, to “be quiet”—clearly the hiring of Kellyanne Conway, an expert at appealing to female voters, is a move on his campaign’s behalf to counter the public’s perception that he’s anti-woman, along with enlisting his daughter, Ivanka Trump. Maybe we’ll start to see some change.
Ortagus is not officially a candidate for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District.
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