The Washington Examiner has a lengthy profile of House Freedom Caucus leader Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina. The piece is interesting on several levels, but there’s one thing in there that I’d like to highlight:
After the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape was leaked to the press, setting off scandalized and electorally dangerous discussion about Trump’s treatment of women, Republicans of many stripes, especially those facing tough re-election battles, abandoned Trump. But Meadows and his wife stayed on board, literally and figuratively. Debbie Meadows boarded a “Women for Trump” bus with 10 other wives of congressmen, and defended the candidate. Trump and the White House have not forgotten this, and are unlikely ever to do so.
“We will always remember how tenacious and loyal Mark and Debbie Meadows were, especially after Oct. 7. They’re definitely members of what we call the ‘Oct. 8th coalition,'” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, in an interview.
“In the final month, beginning with her boarding that bus … in the face of a great deal of pressure to do otherwise — tells you something about their tenacity and loyalty,” Conway added.
Now, that’s an interesting test. On the Access Hollywood tape, Donald Trump boasted of propositioning a married woman while he was himself married to his current wife. He also boasted of making frequent unwanted physical advances on women and the fact that he could get away with it because of his fame and wealth. Many if not most people took this to be an admission that Trump regularly commits sexual assault. And, in fact, in the days after the tape was released, women came out of the woodwork to declare openly that they had been the victims of precisely this kind of sexual assault at the hands of Donald Trump.
It was too much for Paul Ryan who held a teleconference with Republican members of the House and declared that “I am not going to defend Donald Trump. Not now, not in the future,” and that they should all just fend for themselves.
You might think that Team Trump would be a little forgiving of folks were weren’t willing to defend what Trump said on that tape, but you’d be very wrong. They actually have a list of folks who didn’t abandon them that they call “the October 8th coalition.”
I wonder if Melania Trump is a member.