At least some equal opportunity self-debasement is now going down at Trump Tower.
Mitt Romney ate frog legs “and crow” in a doomed attempt to become Donald Trump’s secretary of state. Carly Fiorina is looking past any sexism she experienced first-hand from the current president-elect in a quest to become national intelligence director.
Mocking Fiorina in a Rolling Stone interview, candidate Trump said, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?” Fiorina’s response to Trump’s insult was probably the highlight of her presidential campaign: “I think women all over the country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” she declared during a September 2015 primary debate. Her campaign also released an ad called “Look at This Face,” which included footage of Fiorina saying, “This is the face of a 61-year-old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle.”
Now she, too, is a job-seeking pilgrim, paying homage to the man who assailed her. That makes her no different from men like Romney — a “choker,” according to Trump” — who did the same after blasting Trump as a con man and fraud. As for those women who might feel abandoned by Fiorina, she abandoned the sisterhood a long time ago.
As CEO of Hewlett Packard, Fiorina was the first woman to lead a company ranked in the top 20 by Fortune, and in 1998 she ranked first on Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list. As a presidential candidate, Fiorina made sure no one would ever accuse her of using any power to coddle another female. During a January 2015 primary debate, Fiorina managed to get in this dig: “Unlike another woman in this race, I actually love spending time with my husband.” Her campaign released an anti-Clinton ad called “Qualified for the Big House, not the White House.” In follow-up interviews, Fiorina kept up the sexism, saying, “If my husband had done some of the things Bill Clinton had done, I would have left him long ago.”
She went after a female candidate just like one of the guys. So it’s no surprise that she would also do what the guys do to get a job — never mind the barbs she hurled Trump’s way.
“Donald Trump reminds me of the Kim Kardashian of politics,” Fiorina said during a January Fox News interview. “They’re both famous for being famous, and the media plays along.”
After receiving only 4 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, she dropped out of the race. When she signed on for a short-lived stint as Ted Cruz’ running mate last April, she said that, unlike Clinton, she would never ask people to support her because of her gender: “Ted Cruz didn’t pick me because I’m a woman. Ted Cruz picked me because I’m a capable individual. Donald Trump’s comments on women are frequently things I find either irrelevant or offensive.”
During the general elections, she went back and forth on Trump. Last fall, the Washington state Republican party tweeted that Fiorina told them, “We must have President Trump — we can’t have President Clinton.” But then, after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, which showed Trump boasting about his ability to grab whatever he wants from women, Fiorina put out word that “Donald Trump does not represent me and my party.”
Leaving Trump Tower the other day, she cooed about “the really cool stuff” in Trump’s office — like Shaquille O’Neal’s “huge” shoe.
So far, Trump’s Cabinet picks are mostly older white males. Maybe Trump will use “that face” as another token of diversity — a label Fiorina would never think applies to herself.Joan Vennochi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Joan_Vennochi.