December 30, 2016

On Thursday's "Hardball," Steve KornackI interviewed Autumn Withers, a former Radio City Rockette, about the resistance coming from some Rockettes about performing at the Trump inaugural.

The mainstream media has done everything it can to sweep Trump's past under the rug, especially now that he has been elected, and it's clear that some of the customers for their advertisers were either too stupid or too nasty to let Trump's misogyny stop them from voting for him. And yes, this is true for white women voters who buy paper towels and moderate to severe Crohn's Disease medication. Something cable news seems to hold in very high esteem as they ignore and normalize the things Trump has actually said about women.

So Steve Kornacki plays Devil's advocate with this former Rockette, saying if women voted for Trump, shouldn't the Rockettes just forget about the past and dance or not dance but please don't make a big honking deal about it because then we have to remember what a piece of crap just got elected to the nation's highest office?

And essentially, Autumn Withers politely said, "Hell no."


STEVE KORNACKI: MSNBC: I'm joined by former Rockette, Autumn Withers. Autumn, thanks for joining us. I'm trying to figure out. So we've got one current Rockette speaking out, anonymously right now saying she doesn't want to be there. I'm having a hard time seeing where the outrage or controversy is here. It's not a Trump rally, it is an inauguration. And the Rockettes have performed at past inaugurations. These are generally national events and the individual Rockettes are being told, hey, if you've got a problem with it, if you don't want to be there, you don't have to be there.

AUTUMN WITHERS: Sure. Correct, I think for a minute, we have to put all political leanings aside and kind of look at the overall Rockette brand. Which is, you know, there are strong women, they're intelligent women, they're classy women, they have been invited to perform at many, many, events and even past inaugurations, where we've had a Republican president. However, I think what's different is, we've never had an incoming president who has publicly and repeatedly demeaned women and said derogatory things about me. And I think that's what makes this a really unique situation and elevates it above a situation of just doing your job as a Rockette, as you would for any other event, and really elevates it to a moral issue, a woman's rights issue. What does this say the optics of having the Rockettes perform at Trump's inauguration, how does that normalize this -- these comments and remarks that Trump has made to women at large? and is that okay?

KORNACKI: Well, let me ask you, from this perspective, then. Donald Trump is going to be inaugurated as President, because he won the election. This is an evenly divided country, pretty much, right now. In fact, between Trump and Hillary Clinton, neither got an actual majority of the votes, and Hillary Clinton got more popular votes. That said, tens of millions of women voted for Donald Trump in this election. And you described the Rockettes as strong, intelligent, classy women from everything I've seen, I certainly wouldn't disagree with that, but I bet those tens of millions of women who voted for Donald Trump would also describe themselves as strong, intelligent, and classy. Doesn't that make a statement here that's a little more complicated than saying, you can't perform because he's anti-woman?

WITHERS: But I think you're dismissing his actual comments. I mean, he has talked about grabbing women's genitals, he has called them names, from dogs, pigs, slobs, crooked, nasty, and to have a beautiful line of women dancing behind him, I think, on a larger level kind of normalizes his derogatory comments. And I think, you know, I have Republican female family members, and when you bring up his comments, they're very uncomfortable, and they still agree, this is a women's rights issue. This surpasses political leanings. And this isn't saying I, you know, they don't accept Trump as the President. And they don't accept the election results, clearly, he is going to be our next President of the United States. But we're not really looking at kind of, if you're Republican or Democrat, yes, you have strong, classy, intelligent women on both sides, but it doesn't discount what he said. And I think, as the cultural conversation is, you have to consider, you know, normalizing this. And to have this iconic line of female dancers dancing and kicking in celebration of somebody who has said the things that he has said about women, without remorse, is problematic.

KORNACKI: All right. Autumn Withers, a former Rockette, thank you for joining us.

WITHERS: Thank you.

We will not dismiss what Trump has actually said about women. Not ever.

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