Republican strategist Scottie Nell Hughes supported Donald Trump so vehemently during the 2016 presidential campaign that she went from being unknown to seeing herself parodied on SNL.
It’s worth noting that the characterization of Scottie Nell Hughes, brilliantly executed by Cecily Strong, is that of a woman repeatedly and absurdly defending the indefensible.
But Ms. Hughes is now finding it difficult to defend Donald Trump’s handling of the Rob Porter scandal. NPR’s Rachel Porter interviewed Scottie Nell Hughes on the matter this week.
MARTIN: He had been pressured to speak publicly, not just in a tweet, because for many days, he had remained silent on this issue. Did the president’s words there satisfy you?
HUGHES: Well, the way this entire situation has been handled has been less than satisfying, to be honest with you, from the very beginning. This is about trust, and this is trust in our White House that once again is being eroded. This time, however, it’s being eroded within his own base, as his base elected him because they trusted his words. Even if they did not like his words, they trusted that he was telling them the truth.
Now we’re finding that the timelines are not matching up, and then the people within the White House themselves are not helping the situation. So no, the president has not necessarily clarified the situation and clarified it in many Americans’ minds, but especially his base right now is questioning, how did a man like Rob Porter, with the issues that he had in his background of domestic violence, rise to the rank of being the White House staff secretary?
MARTIN: Have you been disappointed more broadly with how the Republican Party has responded to the broader Me Too movement and this issue in particular?
HUGHES: Well, this is the issue that the Republican Party has to come to. We have to recognize that there is evil that exists within our own party. We can throw as much as we want at the liberals like Harvey Weinstein and even throw out Bill Clinton, but it doesn’t work if you’re not holding your own accountable. And right now, you’re seeing across America 1 out of every 2 women have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace. One of out – out of every 4 have been touched by domestic violence – 99 percent of them, financial abuse.
This is a real issue happening amongst women. And for those in politics, it’s starting to show off at the ballot box. We saw it with Roy Moore. We saw it with the engagement down this week in Sarasota in the special election in an overwhelmingly Trump district going for a female Democrat. So this is something that is going to start snowballing into 2018. Not only is it because of politics, but it’s the right thing to do for Republican men to start holding our own accountable.
This should probably be scary news for President Trump. Just in case you’re worried that your whole life just got flipped upside down because Scottie Nell Hughes crowned herself a feminist icon — fear not. When Rachel Martin asked Hughes to juxtapose this situation against all of the allegations of sexual assault against the president himself, Hughes said:
“Anytime you take something and use it as a weapon – a political weapon, like what we saw six weeks before the election – that usually happens – the day after the election, the issue is dropped. That’s not what needed to happen in this situation. Sexual harassment, domestic violence is a very real issue happening in America today. These women, they do need to be heard. Their stories need to be told. But let’s not make this purely a political issue because then it usually dies the day after the election.”
This seems to be win/win situation. Scottie Nell Hughes is indicating Trump’s support among the women of his base may be eroding… but we still don’t have to claim her as one of our own.