Donald Trump and the Death of the American Gentleman

The mega-millionaire's unbridled misogyny in his public feud with Rosie O'Donnell is nothing but a venom-filled display.

Is it asking too much for America's most famous businessman to simply behave like a gentleman? I don't think so. With great wealth and fame come responsibility, the foremost of which for a man of power is the proper treatment of women.

For weeks, America has been riveted by the nasty public dispute between Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump. Rosie, commenting on Trump's ownership of beauty pageants, called Trump "a pimp," an unnecessarily harsh term that obscured an otherwise important point, namely, that Trump owns beauty pageants that exploit women as cheap meat to entertain lecherous men.

There were many ways for Trump to respond to O'Donnell's opening salvo. He could have ignored her, debated her, or simply said that he is prepared to respond to legitimate criticism, but not when it is vented with venom.

Instead, Trump, who like many narcissistic men has a very thin public skin, erupted like a bile-filled volcano. Refusing to respond to any of Rosie's points, he instead called her "a slob," "disgusting," and "an animal." Now, whatever provocation Rosie might be guilty of—and why undermine a sound moral argument by using names?—one recoils at the spectacle of America's best-known businessman betraying unbridled misogyny by hating a woman for being overweight.


Indeed, Donald Trump represents a completely new paradigm in the evolution of male honor, with grave repercussions for those who aspire to be gentlemen.

Men begin life with superficial dreams: to make money, to be powerful, or to be famous. But as we get older and wiser, those dreams hopefully evolve and mature into something more wholesome. Bill Gates crushed competitors and became the world's richest man. But then his passion was transformed from selling software into giving away his billions. A similar transition occurred within his good friend Warren Buffet. Bill Clinton aspired to power and influence. But after his reputation was sullied through impeachment, he wished to be respected and launched an impressive array of international initiatives to help the downtrodden.

Trump, however, has never outgrown his obsession for unbridled self-aggrandizement. Indeed, he has not evolved, but devolved. His narcissism and boastfulness scrape the skies just like his buildings. Enlightenment seems utterly beyond Trump, who continues to believe that self-glorification is life's only purpose. If wisdom's highest manifestation is the human ability to discern a cause greater than oneself, then Trump is mired in an abyss of self-absorbed darkness.

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Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
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