Donald Trump, Champion of Women. (No, Really.)

On his watch, female politicians with White House ambitions are rising.

Comments: 181

  1. Your piece should also have reiterated yesterday's tide of opinions about how 45 has energized women as a voting bloc & the participation of black women in particular. Bloodied but unbowed [& persistent]!

  2. Nikki Haley has stained herself forever by giving up the governorship of SC...to be a minion of Trump's. Shame forever on her. She did it to herself.

  3. Nikki Haley has distinguished herself as a measured, effective voice for the United States in an organization known for its hysteria and hypocrisy. She has served our interests well and done so without a particularly partisan stamp other than the policies that have been set by the Trump administration. She has shown that she is NOT a divisive figure. By the time she finishes her stint at the United Nations, she will be more qualified than any female senator or female luminary with the exception of Hillary Clinton. And the Democrats need to be very careful in allowing Hillary anywhere near the nominating process for 2020.

  4. Nikki "It's a Great Day at the UN" Haley.

  5. South Carolina voted for Trump. I bet it would do so next time too! Nikki was born, educated and lived all her life in S.C. And married to a South Carolinian. She is not from MN!

  6. Gillibrands is not the person of integrity and moral courage we need as president. But there you go again, settling for anyone who happens to stand up for ANYTHING, in the right political climate. I don't remember which sage of the sixties said, As we go up the ladder we seem to jettison our principles, or words to that effect. There are those who have devoted their lives to service of the common good, the public good, with little recognition or financial reward. On the other hand we have the resume-builders who seem to punch one correct, career-building ticket after another. Gillibrand is in the second group, as are so many nowadays. Please don't start annointing her so soon. Same with Warren; when she might have done the principled thing and supported Sanders, whose positions were much closer to those Warren said she espoused, she came out for Hillary. There are women out there, probably unheralded except in their own small communities, but with the competence to do the work of our current politicians and the integrity to do it with more commitment to the Common good, not their personal good. Find them. Write about them. But please, enough already of Gillibrand. And Warren.

  7. Can't say that I'm sanguine about any of them, Gillibrand, Haley or Warren. The bar has been set pretty low by djt but perhaps with the exception of Warren I don't see the necessary gravitas for the presidency or the experience but, we've seen how far ambition can take you so who knows. It's too bad that Michelle Obama doesn't want the job. But, if it's not a woman who becomes either party's candidate I can't say that I'd mind seeing Joe Biden run against Mike Pence in 2020, or even djt if he survives that long.

  8. Well, I guess we might as well get used to the thoughtless, divisive comments that many who consider themselves progressive threw at each other last election, effectively ceding the election to Trump. Above, Warren is dismissed with the oft repeated talking point of the Jeff Weaver crowd "when she might have done the principled thing and supported Sanders, whose positions were much closer to those Warren said she espoused, she came out for Hillary". My own guess is that many who repeat such doggerel are new to politics and have never actually dug into the details they are advising others on. Brings to mind the brief tiff when John Lewis said something strangely dismissive of Sanders and lots of Sanders supporters put Lewis in their enemies list. Seriously, Lewis is on the progressive side and the dumb comment he made about Sanders does not negate all the great things he has been and continues to do. When Warren supported Clinton, certainly a controversial decision and one that in retrospect may have been ill advised, that put her on the enemies list of many Sanders supporters. This kind of nasty, vindictive, cult of personality style is the last thing progressives need, and something that is sure to bring future defeat. Warren is very impressive in many ways, it really helps to be a professor of tax issues. She is far more knowledgeable than Bernie on these issues, not a slam on Bernie, almost no one can compete with her. Read a bit about Warren before trashing her.

  9. Don't be too hard on Elizabeth Warren for supporting Hillary against Sanders. Presidential contenders (and politicians in general) are a mixture of ideals, ideology, personal ambitions. Besides, Warren was a Republican from Oklahoma and had her undergraduate education in Texas. Working closely with the GOP, especially in 'Housing for the poor', she might have discovered their true intentions: transfer of wealth from the Poor and the Middle Class to the Super Rich! As for Bernie Sanders, he is an ideological Social Democrat --- not a 'wishy-washy' 'liberal' like Dean or Warren!

  10. Kirsten Gillibrand is no recent arrival to the issue of sexual assault. She has been highlighting the problem of sexual assault in the military and on campuses for years. Her 2014 bill to reform how sexual assault cases were investigated in tbe military failed in the Senate 45-55, but the issue and her drive for reform has not gone away. Given the pervasive problem of gender and power, the growing participation of women in the workforce and politics and the fact that women are increasingly better prepared for the future demands of both, change is certain to come. And that change will reach the White House one of these days, thanks in no small part to the current occupant.

  11. If Haley were really smart and bold, she would start making a deal and run as VP on Gillibrand's ticket.

  12. That would be the opposite of smart and bold. That would be dumb and dumber.

  13. "Could she, in fact, be our first female president? " Not if everyone looks closely at her history here in SC, especially her employment history prior to being governor.

  14. I have a hard time with the argument that Trump is an accidental anything. Sure, his perpetual odiousness poses endless opportunities for thinking people to stake out a platform of rightful opposition. But giving Trump credit for any of this is like crediting George Wallace for galvanizing us against racism by standing on the schoolhouse steps. He is unworthy of that, and people of principle already know what they stand for.

  15. Haley and Gillibrand are both smart people with a lot of ambition. What's interesting is to see the way each has chosen this moment to make a move towards furthering their future political fortunes. Haley seems to have made some bold statements outside of the current Republican dogma of supporting Trump no matter what. To me, this is a strong suggestion that at least some Republicans are starting to envision a post-Trump world, and Haley decided this was the time to stake her claim. I wonder if they are starting to see the noose tightening around Trump's neck. Gillibrand, equally ambitious, has seen the mania over sexual harassment as her moment to break into large-scale visibility among the Democrats. I personally think this was a bad calculation on her part, but it seems to have served her immediate purpose. I just don't think the harassment issue will be the issue of the day when it comes to electing a President: witness Trump's election.

  16. Why was it necessary to mention Nikki Haley's Indian-American heritage in this article? It should not matter what her nationality is because she is American born. We should keep identify politics out of it. Let the best person who is suited for a position be considered in politics.

  17. Bruni. I am encouraged by signs of clarity. Yes, Haley is exactly the sort of woman we need for president. She carries none of the victim baggage. She could be the next Thatcher. She's any man's equal. Also, don't dismiss Trump's judgement. From what I can see objectively, he is looking for the best and the strongest regardless of race or gender.

  18. "From what I can see objectively, he is looking for the best and the strongest regardless of race or gender." LOL Do you know ANYTHING about his Cabinet and Agency appointments??

  19. Nikki Haley can only salvage a political career by stepping away from this toxic regime. If she remains she will not shake her allegiance despite her public and veiled attempts tp repudiate the administration and POTUS.

  20. "President Trump" will "Shape-Shift" which ever way it takes to modify himself and his image into a range satisfactory to another Target audience. 24/7 He occupies our scope of Vision. Meanwhile, he also has been able to avoid basic responsibility

  21. The actions of our President will in the end have equal opposing actions... If Einstein is right. And then adding the pendulum of women's rights to this equation puts a large smile on my future optimism.

  22. Though an admitted longstanding fan of Senator Gillibrand, I must remind readers that there are lots of gun-owning hunters in C.D. 21 where she made her electoral debut. She is a daughter of Upstate New York herself. I doubt she would have been successful at the polls without some support for sensible gun ownership. As a Senator, she represents all of the state; rural and urban, and has learned that not all guns and not all environments are alike. Handguns in the Bronx are not the same as deer rifles in the Adirondacks. And besides, since when has a mind changed by learning become anathema?

  23. Frank Bruni, as always, writes a great piece. Interesting to see two very different women in two very different positions being presented similarly. I do, however, find it quite a miss that in an article in 2017 about women in politics, Bruni chose to use the phrase "flashed one set" in referring to Gillibrand's behavior.

  24. @TM Your quote is incomplete. Frank actually said "flashed one set of colors" This refers, I believe, to the colors (identity flags) flown by naval ships. Other sayings in this area are: "flying false colors", "striking (lowering) the colors" in surrender. His reference was not to the set you're thinking of.

  25. Everything Trump does is either accidental or an accident waiting to happen. I firmly believe that he, and this era, will be recorded as the greatest multi-car pileup in our nation"s history. I just hope that when he departs the women will be able to perform triage in time to save our future.

  26. I vote based on qualifications not plumbing though at this point, there is NO WAY AT ALL that I would consider a Republican for public office. As for Gillibrand, she showed poor judgment hounding Al Franken out of office without a hearing; the reason one must be faced with one's accusers is that people can say things that are not true if they remain anonymous as some of his accusers have. Had she championed a safe way for all sides to be heard, I would be interested. As it is, the Democratic Party needs a better candidate.

  27. I have said all along keep an eye on Gillibrand -- she is smart, knowledgeable about public policy, recalibrates smoothly, and yes, is attractive.

  28. She'd be even more impressive if she had voice coaching to lower the pitch of her voice. BTW to those who think she's only now rushing to the defense of women, she's been leading the way on this and fighting fiercely for years.

  29. As a liberal (not a radical), I am happy that issues of sexual assault and harassment against women are being illuminated. Everyone has the right to be free of such treatment. I also think that if folks want to vote for candidates for political office because they are female, they are entitled to do so. It is a matter of purely political preference, like the President nominating someone to be a federal judge largely because she is a woman. The decision is political and the checks (e.g., Senate confirmation) are political - not governed by law. Yet this political/legal distinction is often overlooked, and this is where this movement could overreach. Employment decisions, for example, are governed by laws that command nondiscrimination against any person based on race, gender, etc. Apart from Title VII's exception for bona fide occupational qualifications, centers of power like corporations or universities are bound by the nondiscrimination rule. In decades of working in academia, however, and serving on many faculty search committees, I have consistently witnessed blatant sex discrimination against men - never openly, of course, but always behind closed doors. The distinction between political and legal decisionmaking, in other words, is routinely overlooked by social justice warriors who assume that because their goals are pure, they are entitled to achieve them by any means necessary. As a liberal, I reject this, and caution the radical left not to overplay its hand.

  30. "Blatant sex discrimination against men!" You mean equal treatment for under-represented groups? That's not really discrimination.

  31. Janet, thanks for your reply. The civil rights laws (as well as the 14th Amendment) do not protect groups, as you suggest. They say the opposite of that. They expressly protect "any person," whatever that person's race, ethnicity, or gender. So, when hiring committees treat an individual differently than they would otherwise treat him based on his gender, that IS discrimination. Further, if "underrepresentation" is truly a problem that must be corrected, then we must discriminate against those races and ethnicities, e.g. Jews, who are overrepresented in professions like academia, law, and medicine. That's the implication of your position.

  32. The mental image of Donald Trump helping to sire a milestone . . . is quite bizarre, Mr. Bruni.

  33. Who can complain? Trump has advanced the cause of women in the US and women in politics and women's involvement in politics. A lot of women now feel more empowered to be a part of the discussion. In fact, it's getting to be a little much at times, but I won't suppress free speech. How about some comparisons between presidents and their appointments to complete the analysis? And some ideas on how to continue the trend?

  34. Elizabeth Warren deserves to be the first female POTUS. She created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She is a scholar of finances and banking, and she knows how they cheat. Corporatism and the corporate overtaking of everything in our country since 1980 is, and will continue to be the major problem in the US for the foreseeable future. Why aren't liberal pundits behind Senator Warren? Nikki Haley and even Kristin Gillibrand are newcomers and relative lightweights compared to her.

  35. Because Senator Warren is much too "uppity" for a woman, can't you see?

  36. Elizabeth Warren needs to stay right where she is, fighting the good fight. She has neither the qualifications nor the temperament to be President.

  37. I agree with Gustav's comment. Elizabeth Warren has the thick skin, and the focus on the majority of citizens of this country, necessary to run and serve as our first female President. And there is a perfect poetic narrative to "Pocahontas" sweeping away the current pretender.

  38. If your prediction proves true, trump will be glad to take credit!

  39. "Could she, in fact, be our first female president? Watching her go hard after Iran and North Korea at the United Nations, many impressed conservatives are asking that question." That's what the pro-Israel crowd is hoping for, but the rest of American voters consider the above as red flags, and will surely go after her when she comes out and announces. It seems the talking heads haven't learned a thing from 2016. We will NOT vote for a neocon, and that's exactly what Hayley is, regardless of sex. She should find a different profession.

  40. “Many impressed conservatives....” Many impressed conservatives crowed about the “embarrassment of riches, the deep, deep bench” that was the GOP slate of candidates in early 2016 as well. Perhaps conservatives are too easily impressed.

  41. Given the right mess that men have made of--well, everything--for thousands of years, it's only logical that eventually they will inevitably lose control of power over said everything. The process has been accelerating for more than a century and soon may reach snowball proportion. Please let's not give credit to Pumpkinhead for this, though. He's a champion, alright--of the exact opposite. Ask his daughter.

  42. "Watching her go hard after Iran and North Korea at the United Nations..." Yes, very impressive hard talk. Meanwhile it is under this administration that North Korea has, apparently, acquired ICBM proficiency. Yes, under this administration. Was there a problem before? Of course. But ultimately there's only one goalie. And the Trump administration doesn't even appear to know there's a puck. Haley benefits by being the ambassador to an organization that her boss holds in slight regard. In this administration you're a statesman (presidential material no less!) if you can manage to just not be a complete embarrassment.

  43. N. Korea has been developing nuclear weapons competence for years. Under Administrations who could have done far more to stop it and other who made failed deals that could have actually funded it. Trump has moved military asserts into the area and cooperated with China to get the toughest santions yet. What more could he have done with the mess he was left with short of waging war? What would you do differently?

  44. It is easy to look past the unintended consequences of trumps actions, his big mouth, his big ego and his itchy Twitter finger. We can never expect decency and honesty from him but he certainly brings to light the worst in us. Hopefully this will invigorate some young honest decent people to run for public office and it would be a breath of fresh air if a number of them were women.

  45. Accidental, and entirely Unintentional Feminist. See, I knew we would eventually find Something good about this Guy. THIS is it. Thanks for helping unleash a firestorm, Donald. Who knew??? I am Woman, Hear me VOTE.

  46. Frank, I don’t want Nikki Haley anywhere near the Oval Office. If she’s worth her salt, she wouldn’t be in Donald Trump’s employ. Why he didn’t summarily fire her after last Sunday’s bold strike remains a mystery. Perhaps the old crocodile figures that if he dumps the one-time South Carolina governor, he’ll really have his hands full: who will replace her and what might she spill in a future White House run? Regardless, she’s a small-time politician from a backwater state. Her party would never support her because she’s not white even though she plays the part. As for Kirsten Gillibrand, she’s not to be trusted. If she ran and won on the Right From Upstate New York to gain entry into the political second tier, she’s likely to change coats when it pleases her. Sorry, but she has too much of the Clinton chameleon about her. And, what did she really want from Donald Trump when she went “begging?” It certainly wasn’t sex, but, as Hannibal Lecter asked Clarice Starling, “what was it?” I want to know. I have no problems with a woman as president; I thoroughly disliked Hillary Clinton but she should have won (no thanks to FBI Director James Comey, who, it turns out, found out how Caesar felt when the blade went in). I hope Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris decide to think it over, but they’ll be dragged through the dung hill of Trump’s tweets. Can they handle that?

  47. She wanted a political contribution, of course. Do you really have to have that explained to you?

  48. I would have been happy to have Hillary Clinton as president, particularly given the alternative that we now have to swallow. But you can keep Gillibrand and Haley. Gillibrand’s outright dismissal of Al Franken without a formal investigation of the complaints against him smacked of political opportunism. Haley, despite her mild rebuke of her malevolent idiot of a self-confessed woman-groping boss, is a Republican at a time when Republicans are groping all of us. They’re tearing down the fabric of American society, giving incalculable gifts to billionaires that we will one day pay for, trying to destroy affordable health care and setting the stage to weaken Medicare and Social Security. Republicans as group are doing things that are far worse than a wet kiss or a distasteful booby-groping snapshot. I don’t want the genuine outrage of women who were sexually abused to be used by self-serving politicians as a lever to raise themselves up, especially if it crushes others who don’t deserve to be crushed. There is something diseased in our politics, and it’s being spread by Republicans. Until we can return sanity to government, opportunists and lightweights like Gillibrand and Haley are most certainly not the answer.

  49. I was pretty outraged when Gillibrand threw Al Franken under the bus but I've begun to think that, as a calculated move to give her integrity to go after Trump, maybe it was the right thing to do, assuming she keeps the heat on Trump at full bast. As for being presidential meterial (or even Penske material) she'll have to prove her worth a lot more before I jump on that wagon.

  50. Agreed. Gillibrand achieved a pyrrhic victory without the victory. Franken is a knowledgeable and effective fighter for progressive causes and is a major loss for so little cause.

  51. gemli: I'm a Democratic woman who loathes Gillibrand for what she did to Franken. And I really, really hate Bernie Sanders for the way he trashed Hillary Clinton. The Democrats need a substantive candidate who isn't hated by any of us. I personally favor Sherrod Brown. He's got everything, and he lives in Ohio, a state we need to win. There are other excellent choices, too, including Corey Booker and Joe Biden.

  52. From a liberal upstate NYer, Ms. Gillibrand is no one to hold in great esteem. Before her political adventures, she was a half-million-dollar-per-year attorney/lobbyist (read: shill) for the tobacco industry. She pandered to the gun industry in order to win rural upstate NY votes. She's an opportunist who never really did much for her constituents in NY. Polly Noonan was also her grandma (which, not an indictment of Ms. Gillibrand's character, is indicative nonetheless). Rather reviled in NYS.

  53. Let's face it, in a two-party system all politicians are opportunists. It's time to open the gates to get some fresh, authentic ideas in government. Let's retire the process of taking a good idea and straining it through so many filters, it comes out as stale air. Time to put Independents, Communists, Socialists, Greens, Whoever, on the same footing as Republicans and Democrats. I want a Parliament full of diverse voices.

  54. Mr. Bruni, it’s not only female politicians who are now energized against the president, but millions of women around the country who have had enough of this man’s misogyny. Women don’t have to be in the public eye to be demeaned and diminished by the president. It’s the visibility of public servants like Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton who oppose everything he stands for who threaten him, which is why his meanness, and yes, fear, are uncontrollable. As for black women, professional women, soccer moms and college students, he felt their wrath in Alabama Tuesday night, although it was Roy Moore took the public beating for him.

  55. Two terms as Indian-American governor? There is no such thing. "Nikki Haley, an Indian-American, was a two term governor who is now adding foreign-policy experience...."

  56. Nikki Haley was a two term governor. No need to qualify the statement with her ancestry.

  57. Ad because of this appointment, she dd not finish a second term.

  58. To each action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Many women had decided that they didn't need to be feminists. But then, Trump's victory revealed the depths of misogyny in this country. And now in the Harvey Weinstein Era we are forced to examine the true cost of male entitlement: systemic sexual harassment, assault, even rape of women and girls. People are realizing, wait a minute, you mean believing that men should be in power results in some really sicko stuff? Yes. So become a feminist.

  59. Very good. We now need a black woman to come forth to muddy the race/class/ethnic/gender/religious divide. Love Gillibrand versus Haley....for now!

  60. Let's be more precise, Mr. Bruni, he's a misogynist who "accidentally" furthered the interests of feminists. Either way, I'll take those unintended consequences of the Fake Prez's repulsive conduct. MAGA.

  61. No doubt Trump is accelerating the feminist political movement which hopefully will accelerate his demise...

  62. Well put.

  63. As of today I would gladly voted for either one in comparison to potential male candidates of eithe party

  64. Haley is just a loose cannon with no influence in this administration. She has little depth as she displays over and over.

  65. How about her comment about the possibility of not sending the US Olympic team to South Korea???? Why did she even say that???? She is a minion.

  66. What do you mean fickle ? She represented her district as a Congresswoman and did so with its interests in mind ,exactly as she was supposed to do As a Senator,she represents the entire state of New York which has far more diverse interests than the small neck of the woods she represented as an upstate Congresswoman. Accordingly ,she represents the far more catholic interests of her state wide constituents ,exactly as she is supposed to do. Trump is the main reason that these domineering men of power are now being brought to the country's attention and are ,most unfortunately ,the main topic of the day. While the other politicos ,left and right, are falling by the wayside ,our Groping Creepster in Chief not only sits unscathed in the Oval Office ,but has the arrogance to not only tweet biased opinions regarding the resignations , but the outright gall to support Judge Roy Teen Child Molester for a seat in the Senate. Trump's eagerness to do so related only to a seat. The vile stench of that decision puts paid to any integrity in either the Trump camp or the RNC in general Gillibrand is 1000% correct in both her assessment of Trump's total lack of fitness to represent the United States and in her request for him to step down Speaking of fickle ,Frank , please define that term in words relative to Mr. Trump's current stance on taxes and his campaign promises to the middle class. His promises not to touch Medicare , Medicaid , and Social Security Bipolar , not fickle

  67. I do hope the Democratic Party doesn't think that a candidate running only on the program of resistance to Trump without some coherent, well thought out strategy for curing what ails this country will win. Unless the economy tanks, Trump would best such a candidate.

  68. Sad to say, but I do believe you are correct, Jon. The Dems need to develop a winning agenda and FAST. It should already be in place.

  69. We don't have to look too far back to see an almost exact analog in terms of race. Does anyone seriously think a black man would have been elected to be the POTUS if it hadn't been for having such a disaster of a predecessor? One of the most mind-boggling things about Trump is that he makes GWB look a model of competence. That any subsequent POTUS could actually achieve that is a testament to the jaw dropping depths of national stupidity we have arrived at.

  70. No, not a feminist. Merely such an outrageous misogynist that he validates a feminists' perspective. Not the same thing at all, even facetiously.

  71. Still working that "first female president" shtick I see. How very emancipated. Nothing says feminism has finally reached equality more than solely running on your XX chromosomal status. Who cares about policy positions or track records? The monetized, reality-TV politics show must go on! It is so fun to watch I bet the media is already itching for "a historic matchup between Gillibrand and Haley" (Talk about a race to the bottom) And they will frame it just like Frank Bruni, like a much anticipated Vegas boxing fight with big red, white and blue flags flying everywhere. "That would make up for everything that we’ve been through." This is, of course, totally ridiculous. Both of them have shown to be total tools of the wealthy donor class, with an intellect to match. Hillary redux Gillibrand is another corrupt, establishment, corporate sellout Democrat without any principles and vain opportunist who will do nothing for working people save for the cosmetic moves her donors permit. Dems wouldn't even have to change their slogan "I'm with Her" and save tons of money on advertising. Because that strategy worked out so well for Dems in 2016. Nikki Haley, another über-corrupt identity candidate, was an utter embarrassment at the UN to anyone without Uncle Sam glasses on. Despite having no foreign affairs credentials, she was the perfect example of NOT learning on the job. Her endorsement of Saudi-led genocide in Yemen alone should disqualify her. Has anybody asked the voters yet?

  72. Haley is still employed - for now. Remember DJT never forgets a slight; he absolutely hates being contradicted by women; and he has been known to wait for his payback. Just look how he is schmoozing old Orrin Hatch, in order to deny Mitt Romney the Utah Senate seat. DJT will throw Haley under the bus, and he’ll relish doing it. I predict he will tie some foreign policy disaster around her neck and toss her overboard. She is the frog trying to carry the scorpion across the river, and Scorpion Donny will poison her before he’s done.

  73. It's in his nature.

  74. Senator Gillibrand's lack of character and ethics are on full display with a well researched article from 2009 that speaks of her long history of opportunism and duplicity. She's not worthy of any job that depends on her consideration for other's well-being. Don't begin to mention her in the same regard as Senator Warren.

  75. Nikki Haley clearly has ambitions beyond U.N. ambassador, and just as clearly offers a dramatically more formidable mind and ideological neutrality than Kirsten Gillibrand. As a matter of fact, if all these unfounded rumors about Trump axing Tillerson prove true, then Haley would be a FAR better replacement as SecState than Pompeo, who is basically a tool. I’m one of those, despite not being a Democrat, who believes that Gillibrand is hanging too much on sexual predation. This began with her years ago, with sexual violence in the military. Now, as a general matter this certainly is a worthy cause, but we’re seeing an intense run-up in emotion and bloodletting since Weinstein was outed by the Times, and it’s leaving collateral damage all over the place, such as with Al Franken. If the people turn against these excesses, this issue will be discredited faster than a meatball passes through a tall Swede. And she will have nothing to distract from a pedestrian mind (the Democratic Michele Bachmann) and a yugely opportunistic agenda. Nikki Haley, on the other hand, has gravitas and depth. In a debate, she’d eviscerate Gillibrand. And, actually, she’d possibly make a very good president.

  76. I agree with everything you say here. When I first saw Nikki Haley in action, I had a stirring in my gut about her. Just look at the picture accompanying Bruni's piece. She's alive to the moment, engaged, fairly pinging with energy. He, well ... never mind. I would be really excited to see Nikki Haley run for president of your country. Gellibrand, not so much. Her move and justification for the move on Al Franken smacks of political opportunism and I'm offended she uses our moment and our movement for her own gain. It won't serve us, the Democrats, or your country well.

  77. @Richard Luettgen: Haley is tainted by Trump. Nothing will remove that stain and stench.

  78. ,,,oh I forgot to include the article on Gillibrand that revealed her true character....https://www.villagevoice.com/2009/02/11/gillibrand-learned-how-to-defend...

  79. One cannot be a "partial" feminist. When you look at the whole picture, Trump clearly regards women with contempt. It's ugly.

  80. It's about time the Justice Dept began an investigation of Trump's criminal sexual history. No one is above the law and he's been getting away with too much too long.

  81. Gillibrand was a lawyer defending Big Tobacco. She should be asked to resign as much as any male politician accused of sexual harassment. Big Tobacco has killed millions of Americans, and they gave us the tactic of hiring scientists to sow confusion and doubt on whether tobacco is a carcinogen, all the while paying other scientists to maximize the addictive potential of their product. Period, case closed.

  82. It seems to be difficult for you to let go of the idea that women are either pure, or impure.

  83. thank you mr. Bruni. this has been a discussion at the gym for a couple weeks now. we all feel the groper in charge is the impetus for the sexual reckoning that is so overdue. he is a proud and loud miscreant in his views of women and the fact ms. Haley sorta stood up to him bodes well for all women. her position is tenuous in the administration. she has however garnered a bit more respect from the electorate. the other prime factor to remember always is America has the electoral college idea where we end up with this groper in the oval. Really? when the woman that next assumes the office of the presidency gets in charge , the removal of that foolish idea should be gotten rid of.

  84. Given the present state and "character" of the GOP, nothing could bring me to vote for any GOP candidate. Haley gave a mild nod to the sexual harassment and assault almost every woman has experienced. Does that take the edge off of the fact that she has no problem working for a misogynist boss facing credible accusations of sexual harassment, discrimination, and assault? Mr. Bruni seems to imply that women should rejoice at any woman becoming president, even women who pursue power aggressively for themselves while they also pursue policies that place obstacles in the path of other women who seek a place in the public sphere and not in the domestic sphere. I am a proud feminist. I hope to see greater numbers of women in politics. That means women who support the right of other women to also succeed in the public sphere, and women with the chops and integrity to earn their place there. Should I cheer for the likes of Sarah Palin just because she's a woman?

  85. To answer your last question: only if you lost your mind and had a lobotomy, but probably not even then. Just be glad Der Tveeter didn't choose her as his running mate.

  86. We are long overdue for a woman president, but is it too much to ask to find better options? Everyone is ready to crown Gillibrand, but the more I look into her the less I like. She threw Franken under the bus rather than allow for a fair hearing. Perhaps more disturbing, she is busy chiding others for not coming clean about their pasts, yet she refuses to explain or take ownership of her at Philip Morris, which the NY Times reported and opined on in 2009: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/27/nyregion/27gillibrand.html http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/10/opinion/10observer.html That to me shows an absolute lack of a moral compass. I think the really big irony will be that Gillibrand may fall under the shadow of Tina Smith, Franken's replacement. I don't know much about her, but if first impressions are anything to go by, she will be a force to be reckoned with. As for the Republicans, they could have had a female president or at least vice-president years ago if they had been smart enough to tap Olympia Snowe while they still could.

  87. Olympia Snowe was a class act. We shall not see her like again in the Republican party.

  88. Once again, Frank Bruni has shown how eager men are to take credit for everything. His ostensibly unironic conclusion is that Trump should be credited with bolstering the careers of Haley and Gillibrand, and for inspiring hundreds of other women to run for office. Thanks, Trump! We couldn't have done it without you. The kicker is that Frank Bruni takes credit for the extremely unoriginal observation that increasing numbers of women have entered into politics in the past year. Nowhere does he acknowledge the women responsible for that movement, including Emily's List and She Should Run. This piece is also condescending. Bruni claims that women would not have gotten this far without the "Trump bump." Did Bruni choose that word to evoke affirmative action "bumps"? The not-so-implicit assumption is that women couldn't have done it on their own. I know Bruni is trying to be cute, but the term "accidental feminist" makes no sense. A misogynist cannot accidentally be a feminist, just as the KKK are not “accidental” civil rights activists. Trump in no way merits the label "feminist." Let's not praise the oppressor for the victims' newfound strength. Trump's election and the message it sent about women's place in America have done irreparable damage to women's rights. We have a man in office who publicly stands for all things anti-woman. Bruni, imagine what it's like to be a woman under Trump's presidency. Please take a seat and let women speak for themselves.

  89. I think you completely missed the point of the essay. Trump's horrid personality has helped shake many women and men out of complacency. It was not long ago that you would read reports in the Times and other news outlets about younger voters not worrying about women's issues or actively recoiling from the word feminist. For example, this CNN article from 2012: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/09/living/millennials-feminism/index.html Bruni is not giving Trump credit for this. The title of the essay is dripping with sarcasm. What Bruni is saying is Trump has become a rallying cry for all that is wrong in our current politics, and his election has re-energized the feminist cause. Trump is serving as Exhibit A on why the fight is far from over.

  90. Well said.

  91. It is hard to understand American foreign policy in the Trump era. Haley often makes the right noises but she seems under qualified for her present job. What we get are Republican cliches. Howver, Trump has demonstrated that anyone can be president.

  92. Your praise of Nikki Haley forgets one thing. How can an Indian-American woman get nominated for the presidency in today's Republican Party? No woman or minority has ever won a single state in the GOP primaries or caucuses. Ben Carson, Herman Cain, Alan Keyes, Bobby Jindal, and Carly Fiorina all generated a lot of enthusiasm at times. None received many votes. As long as the GOP base is motivated to vote for someone who channels their anger against the forces that, in their view, are weakening the dominance of a white, Christian, male-oriented society I don't think Ms. Haley has a chance.

  93. Sure, neither of these women may be perfect. But, if we are talking about policy disagreements rather than degrees of mental illness, transgressiveness, authoritarianism, appeals to xenophobia, and racism, then we would be way ahead of where we are now.

  94. Interesting. The only way we will ever have a woman president is if two women run against each other. In any other case, those good ol' boys from Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania who are unemployed because they won't work anywhere but a factory or a mine would never let it happen.

  95. I see neither of these women as authentic, sincere or qualified for that high office. I do see their ambition to attain it. Gillibrand as an opportunist, Haley as an appeaser, both calculating. No thanks to both. Much as I would welcome the first woman president, I've not seen either of these women exhibit the depth, breadth, courage of conviction and wisdom that it's going to take to clean up the gargantuan mess this administration will be leaving in its wake.

  96. The tea leaves from the past few days strongly suggest Joe Biden is running for president in 2020. I hope Gillibrand has the good sense to step aside if he does.

  97. No, no, no. No Joe Biden. There is so much in the way of video of Biden caressing and saying icky things to women (and little girls!). Republicans would have a field day. Let’s not make the same mistake we made with crowning Hillary Clinton, just because she “deserved” to be President, “after all those years of service”.

  98. You mean like the way he comforted McCain's daughter on TV the other day? That was beautiful and heartfelt. You know, every single time a man touches a woman is not something "icky." If you think that way, you are the one with the problem.

  99. If democrats ever want to capture the White House , they have to find a candidate with liberal views on economics and a social conservative. The way President Trump deliberately generate negative news coverage of him, he will be more popular during election time. The redemptive election of President Obama is not a winning criteria for others. A woman candidate is preferable. Preference is not a winning strategy.

  100. Tuesday's election results suggest that social conservatism is not a sine-qua-non for Democratic politicians even in a state like Alabama. Doug Jones supported choice on abortion. He didn't adjust his position to satisfy voters in a state where a majority of Tuesday's voters believe abortion should be illegal in most (25 percent) or all (27 percent) cases. Despite his pro-choice position, Jones won on Tuesday in one of the most conservative states in the nation. Perhaps people are starting to put other issues ahead of abortion when they cast their ballots.

  101. I recognize the irony rich delivery here, but I'm left cold, to be honest. If Ms. Big Tobacco can leverage her betrayal of the Clintons, who put her in the Senate, and her hypocritical attacks on Franken, removing a possible competitor for party leadership, she is sure to do so. And I, along with others to whom I've spoken, will sit out the first election since the 1960's. I even voted Democrat from Viet Nam, but not this time if she keeps it up!

  102. Good Lord. I don't like Gillibrand either, but there is absolutely no doubt she would be better than Trump or the odious Pence. The only comfort I take from reading this is that Arizona is probably not going to be blue in 2020 anyway so the harm you would do by sitting the election out is less than if you were in a state that is going to matter, like my now deplorable state. There is always a better choice, even if you don't think it the best. Attitudes like your are what got us Trump.

  103. Why did it take so long for the Weinstein story to be made credible and public? Whey wasn't this done say 3 years ago? So much progress being made now in an important arena for women and I ask again, why didn't this happen already?

  104. Well, maybe Superman can circle the world backwards and turn back time. Isn't it enough that it is all happening now? To everything there is a season.

  105. Yes I give Nikki Haley credit for standing up to trump, in here she stands a chance of losing her job by the predator in chief. But I will not put her in the same category as Kirsten Gillibrand. Al Franken was a powerful Senator chosen by the people of Minnesota and this Senator from NY gathers some others to make him bow out from a promising career without any significant proof while the predator in chief still remains in the office. I am a woman and a Democrat, and will never vote for Kirsten Gillibrand if she in future runs for the Presidency, but would for Nicki Haley the Republican. Not that long ago Ms. Haley ceremoniously lowered the confederate flag from her State showing that has no place in this Country. That Woman has chutzpah and could stand up to trump I believe. Time will tell...

  106. 'I’ve affixed many labels to Trump, but I missed a major one. He’s an accidental feminist.' Let's affix another label to him 'Return to Sender'

  107. Welp. The “failing” New York Times published a laudatory article about Haley. Trump will start ranting against her in the next day or so.

  108. Stop it Frank. Just stop it. Haley is horrendous. Is she as bad as Trump? No of course not but that's a terrifyingly low bar.

  109. Trump being an accidental feminist isn't worth the loss of our net neutrality today, Frank. Trump placed a shill at the FCC who is destroying our freedom. This is getting worse by the minute...

  110. As a Democrat, my observation is that Gillibrand is a bigger fraud than Nikki Haley.

  111. Then you have not been paying attention to her for years. Far from it. She's actually pretty authentic and a very earnest person.

  112. Why the fabrication about being a Democrat?

  113. Is Nikki Haley a fraud or just someone who is terribly wrong on most policies?

  114. Ambassador Haley once said, in referring to Trump administration strategy in the world: "we don't do 'soft power' " (the power of cultural influence). She meant to emphasize America's "hard power" (military might) when she said this. But it was an unnervingly naive statement. America's "soft power" in the world -- its cultural impact, its core values (meaning those that are stated in the Constitution) - historically were unique and have possibly been America's most powerful "weapons." No one else was able to duplicate this soft power. For example, it is sometimes said that blue jeans and rock and roll played a big role in bringing down the Soviet Union - young people there wanted to participate in a wider cultural world. The Czech Velvet Revolution was named after the Velvet Underground. Back then, in certain ways (not all), America was "where the action was" in this regard. And that situation stretched back to World War II and even before. But nowadays ... well, just read the European press to find out the current condition of America's soft power and cultural influence in the world. Let's just say it isn't what it was a year or two ago. So I hope that Ambassador Haley has changed her mind.

  115. Frank, Empowered by a glass of wine, I want to say something that has little to do with this column except to say, Thank for it. Like Peter Wehner I have left my label "Evangelical" while still feeling deeply my faith. The best part is to abandon the judgmental stance against gay relationships and the LGBTQI community. How crazy! As crazy as judging a person based on race or religion. The Alabama special election was cathartic.

  116. I'm not a fan of Gillibrand's (and yes, I'm a woman, and a Democrat) and I will never vote for Haley or any other Republican, for that matter. But thanks so much for mansplaining the situation to me, Mr. Bruni. No please go somewhere and sit down while we women figure out a way to salvage what's left of this country.

  117. Gillibrand, no. Haley, Lord no. They leave me cold and I distrust both of them, Both are too calculated and opportunistic. See Gillibrand's metamorphosis to get to the Senate. Haley is smooth, but has little depth, IMO. Elizabeth Warren has earned the mantle as lead female candidate. For liberal cred and the chops to lead, I'd pick Al Franken. Oh wait, I can't Gillebrand made sure of that.

  118. I will never forgive Gillebrand for what she did to Al Franken. It was a nasty, political, opportunistic, maneuver. It was an orchestrated witch hunt. And, for that she should pay by being voted out of office. I'm a life-long Democrat,83 yrs. old, and am proud to be called a liberal progressive. But, when Gillebrand is up for re-election, and I'm still alive, I will campaign against her, and, then, vote against her.

  119. Good for you!

  120. Well, I don't know if we can go so far as to suggest Trump has a feminist bent; however, he did recently say that women were "special." They just might be special enough to help cause his downfall.

  121. I will never vote for anyone who has worked for or with Trump on anything. As far as I am concerned every single one of those people placed and reporting to Trump are questionable in every facet of their character. You can continue, Mr. Bruni, of your adoration of the Republican Party. More power to you. But for me, I wouldn't vote for any Republican ever again after the fiasco of the Bush campaign and I see nothing, as in Zero, reason to change my mind. The Republican party has fallen so far I am surprised that anyone with two neurons to rub together would still consider themselves to be associated with such low lifes, unless, of course, they qualify.

  122. "He’s an accidental feminist." No. He is implacably antagonistic to feminism. He doesn't get credit for the vehement reaction to his vile misogyny.

  123. Nikki Nimrata Haley is a complete cipher who reads from scripts. Her proclaiming that "women should be heard" is about as obvious as saying the sun will rise.

  124. Today December 14th is the Fifth Anniversary of Sandy Hook. It’s worthwhile comparing our two Presidents then and now. https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/12/14/photo-captures-the-exact-mom...

  125. Apt journalism is an art form. Frank Bruni, an enlightened writer, views with objectivity. Trump as accidental feminist? Yes when tornados shuffle the tarot cards & media maelstroms thunder down upon our heads -- yes! Instead of banal polarization & senseless accusatory name calling this new Women s Movement must be seen as a kaleidoscope of kinetic energy. Last Saturday in front of Trump Hotel at 59th Street as a blinding blizzard transpired women circled a genetic male; Playwright Dr. Larry Myers of St. John's University who morphed the #metoo movement into expressive exposure replete with timely metaphors & mediation. This method playwright who is a walk on water Advanced Catholic has summoned up sequences which are objective & studied into a model play for his Playwrights Sanctuary dramatists he mentors to consider. It is called "Triumph of the Other Isis' 9the goddess Madam Blavatsky treated with the reverence of the Blessed Mother in her epic Isis study. Its easy to see why the renowned late Edward Albee sanctioned the Myers' endeavors. Forty years of university professorship flavor Myers' spiritual, poetic, prophetic plays. Theater artist; now is the time to express ,But examine & empathically search for your points of view.

  126. Why isn't Frank Bruni talking about Sen Warren the same way as the other women? Where are the so called liberal pundits on Warren? How liberal are they really, in our distorted politics where the rw has moved to the center, and columnist try to be careful. Warren's formidable background is just right to combat our biggest problem---the one that underlies most other problems. Corporatism in our politics, that’s what’s funding our elections, directing laws and parties, and systematically removing influence of by for the citizen majority. It's so obvious. But our NYT columnist won't go there. Why??? Is it because the big media they work for gets profits from campaign ads paid for by corporate/billionaire financing---our biggest campaign expense? Columnists thrive on personality & drama---will Haley stand up to her boss? Will Gillibrand stand up to sex abusers? Should she have called for Franken quitting? Etc. What about our whole political system standing up to the super megadonor corporations who abuse our democracy? Legally?

  127. Point taken, Meredith. Warren is formidable, on multiple levels, but I don't suspect motives as conspiratorial as you suggest are behind Frank Bruni's failure to include her on his list. The aim of the piece, in my view, is to shine a light on perhaps the one untarnished soul of this administration. It's not really about handicapping the race for president in 2020 or comprehensively contemplating women who could win.

  128. I think Bruni focuses on Gillibrand and Haley because they have been in the news recently, not because he thinks the are the best women on either side. Cristine Whitman would be far better as a Republican woman than Haley.

  129. Gillibrand will be forever stained by her ousting of a once comedian Senator who thought he was taking a funny photo "way back then", but not doing what is needed ( convincing the remainder of the Senate, that our Commander in Chief is a predator, liar, and unfit for office!

  130. Gillibrand. No. Too informed. Haley. No. Too conservative. Kamala Harris. No. Just a pretty celebrity face. How about Jackie Spier (sp?)? She’s dignified, moderate, not too old, not too young, and not at all stupid. Substance over shallowness.

  131. Spier???? Now, that's a laugh an a half. She'd end up pummeled like Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern, Mike Dukakis and John Kerry. It would be fun to watch!!!

  132. I think The relationship between Trump and the cause of women equality is very much like the relatiinship between a bacteria and antibiotics, with Trump being the bacteria and feminism being the antibiotics.

  133. "In her they see someone somehow respectful enough of Trump to hold onto her job but defiant enough to hold onto her dignity." That's the silliest thing I've read this week. If you show any respect for trump you have no dignity. No person of good moral character will have anything to do with him.

  134. "He advances women just as surely as he has objectified and trivialized them." To say this is a mischaracterization would be an understatement. Women have made advances in the face of the toxic culture that Trump has spurred on, participated in, and capitalized on. Trump did not do that, Trump created an environment where we must make ourselves heard and fight back. To be a feminist is an active choice that requires constant, conscious work. It is not possible to objectify and trivialize women while advancing them. It is not possible to be a misogynist and a feminist. To give Trump credit for the work being done by people (on purpose feminists) fighting against oppression is to undermine the progress that is being made, and further perpetuate the culture that is being fought against.

  135. Nikki Haley has more fortitude, integrity, and courage than any other Trump appointee and most Republican legislators. And that's why it's only a question of time before she's cashiered for having the audacity to state that Trump's accusers should not be silenced or ignored. I have voted Democrat my entire life but I would be proud to vote for her for president. Haley first won my respect by taking down the confederate flag as governor of South Carolina. She has done exemplary service as ambassador but by crossing Trump she is now in jeopardy of being put to the curb. No worries. That would only enhance her future.

  136. Is my blood the only to actually run cold when Haley said "and they should be dealt with..." I recall that being used as a punitive threat, as in "you'll be dealt with when we get home, young lady!" I heard nothing in her Face the Nation interview to make me feel like she's secretly on my side.

  137. Haley gets too much credit for the symbolic removal of the Confederate battle flag from in front of the SC statehouse. The compromise was to fund the building of a new museum at the cost of millions to house it and other Civil War memorabilia. And she had no problem promoting former SC governor Sanford in his successful run for US Congress despite his embarrassing lies about hiking in the Appalachians when he was actually visiting his mistress in Argentina. And that was after Sanford's ex had to get a restraining order to keep him from breaking into her house. Women like Haley get as far as they do more on looks than smarts.

  138. An 'accidental feminist'? Come on, Frank. Just because a virulent misogynist fuels the determination of women not to endure for one more minute the sexual harassment and assault, the bullying and degradation, the material damage to our careers and reputation that men have determinedly used to keep us in our place does not make him a 'feminist,' accidental or otherwise. That is an insult to every woman who has risked public ridicule and ruin to confront the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Donald Trump, and the legions of others who have finally begun to get what they have long deserved. You owe feminists an apology.

  139. No, Mr. Bruni, Haley and Gillibrand: too little, too soon.

  140. Carson: I've been suggesting this for months. Brown: a REAL candidate for the NON Rich. I'm From Dayton, I keep up with Ohio. Cheers.

  141. Yes indeed, he looks just as interested, competent, and ready to participate as he really is. And yes, she is pretty and has a winning smile. Com'on folks, sure, she's miles smarter than Sarah "I can see Russia from my back yard" Palin, but qualified to hold her post? Her only current qualifications are: Republican, yes; attractive, yes; intelligent (beyond minimally average), unknown; ethical, possibly (Confederate flag down—yes; accepting appointment from Der Tveeter—no; continuing said appointment long after any breathing human with an ounce of concern for our country would have been long over-fed-up; no); other than being a minority person who is fine working with minority haters (Kayla Moore included), unknown. So, all you idealogical purity folks, better think twice. The rest of us need to only one thing: she's a (ta da, greatest fanfare ever heard) Trump Republican. If you can stomach that, you can stomach anything.

  142. Calling Trump an "accidental feminist", given his vitriolic and virulent sexist and misogynistic record, is patently offensive. Trump's war on women is obscene and seriously destructive, and it should be called out repeatedly. He is not, in fact, and "accidental feminist". He is a serial misogynist who has a record of sexually harassing women that makes him unfit to be President in any way, shape or form. This column is the kind of thoughtless and meaningless thinking and writing that is making me think that the Times has given in to the wave of lightweight, superficial that is currently taking over the country. What a waste of an op-ed column.

  143. Well, Gillibrand did troll the troll master, Frank, adding a fresh sexual harassment charge against Trump that was no mere allegation. Even USA Today - the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain of down-the-middle journalism - wrote a five-alarm flame of an editorial after that tweet of his, calling Trump unfit to clean the toilets in the future Obama presidential library. Problem is she's rather humorless. Pity, she went after one of the best comedy writers of all time. I'm sure Franken could have set her up with some folks to soften her Ms. Tisk-Tisk image a little. But you're right about Nikki Haley being a serious contender. She's the unexpected, untarnished star of this alleged president's administration.

  144. Ms. Haley isn't Sarah Palen, but the bar is pretty low.

  145. No Frank. Just NO. It would be funny if lives weren't in the balance. It might be clever, snide, and sarcastic, if threats to women's health care weren't impacting American families right now. In real time. In a country (ours) where maternal and infant deaths are shamefully high - for any industrialized nation. Where birth control is treated as different than any other medication that improves quality of life. say.. viagra. When were hearings held about viagra? When did churches weigh in on its use and God's plan for men? If Trump's locker room talk were only that and there were no real life, flesh and blood accusers - the women that he has manhandled. No Frank - you meant well, but you did wrong.

  146. Trump is Trump and nothing that is written in the op-ed pages of the NYTIMES can change his background or his sexual history. Trump is a misogynist who admits nothing. The woman to watch is Hope Hicks. She has to be Trump's next person of interest.

  147. Nikki Haley lied through her teeth at the UN about fictitious Iranian violations of the Iran deal.

  148. I'd be hard-pressed to call Donald Tump an "accidental feminist" -- as I consider him to be more of an accidental president. His shameful treatment of women, and just about everyone else who isn't like him (White. Right. Rich) is an abomination and has in no way benefitted this country. As for Nikki Haley, she may be smiling now, but she's walking along the edge of a sword in Trump's book. He doesn't like to be criticized or contradicted, and he takes no prisoners. And Kristin Gillebrand, our plucky New York Senator, has probably had to endure worse during her tenure in the Boy's Club known as Washington. If you missed anything, Mr. Bruni, you missed this; they were both feminists before they got to where they are -- and not because of Donald Trump.

  149. Gillibrand has behaved like a weather vane. She moves and flips around with the current prevailing winds. She should be reprimanded for throwing the goofy miss steps of Franken into the realm of criminal molestation of Trump. She is not a fit candidate. Many Hillary supporters are furious with her disproportionate tarring.

  150. Gotta love how it's up to women to clean up the mess that the men have made. Smooth the waters. Clear the mess. Good thing we're good at it - we get lots of practice.

  151. On the other hand, is there something of the "poisoned chalice" here? At least in the appointments? The poisoned chalice being the high level jobs which are given to the underdog, usually women or minorities, because they are such a mess that more experienced people wouldn't take them. If they succeed then credit is given to the person who "discovered" the talent, if they fail, well, there are all the biases and reasons why and not the fault of the guy giving the chance.

  152. I guess I'll have to sit the election of 2020 out. I wouldn't vote for either of these women. One I will never forgive for throwing Al Franken under the bus for political expediency and the other I will never forgive for casting herself inside a party that is so anti-woman it is breath-taking. Unlike some folks women won't vote for women just because they share a gender.

  153. The clock is ticking and 2020 is not as distant this morning as yesterday. Kirsten Gillibrand has elbowed her way into the spotlight. She hopes to remain there until the Democratic candidates queue up for the primaries. Nikki Haley has managed to move from South Carolina to Washington and the United Nations. Is she a candidate to replace Tillerson? Is she grooming herself for 2024 or 2028? What will she do after Trump bows out or loses in 2020?Stay tuned, she's a work in progress. Each woman clearly aspires to be the first female president. Even though I'm a Democrat I like Haley's chances better. She's the feminist with a sense of humor and that's a must. As long as we have the Electoral College a South Carolina identity is more valuable than a New York identity. Any female candidate will be a feminist and a high achiever. That's a given. Hillary Clinton has taught us that the biggest challenge for every high achieving feminist candidate is inspiring and turning out women who don't self-identify as feminists.

  154. The naked truth is, whether you like it or not, people don't look for a "woman", or "man", or black, or white, or whatever color candidate. They vote for the one that is the most "appealing" to them. Hillary must be one of the most unappealing candidates, like Dukakis, the Bushes. Notice how Bush senior won, it's because Dukakis was even worse than him in terms of appeal. Bush the son barely won against Gore for the same reason. Gore has a face that we would call "hen" face. It's not masculine at all. Had Bush the son gone up against Bill Clinton or Obama, they would have wiped the floor with him. Trump has very strong appeal with his base, whether you hate him or like him, so can see his crowd at his campaign events. The only female candidate with great appeal that I have seen was Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain. I'm waiting to see if the United States will have one, and if she emerges, she will win. Warren, Gillibrandt are infantile. Haley might not have enough. COndi Rice might have it but would need to be more theatric. I think she knew she couldn't muster that part, so she never ran for office.

  155. Trump Ok is this really trump because more people voted for Hillary and love her much more than you as you are a horrible person. If you tried to do the moral and ethical thing and not be sexist racist con man, more people would not think you are a monster and a destruction to democracy

  156. This is a strange written piece! Hayley does not close to Gillibrand...on almost every issue she has capitulated to Trump or made some sorry excuse (like all of his court) for him, not to lose her job.

  157. Gillebrand? After Franken, it would be very hard for me to vote for her for Senator, much less President. And judging from the reactions of the commentariat in this newspaper, well, she made a lot of enemies with that move. I would much rather vote for Al, and what an opportunity for poetic justice it would be for him to run against her in the primaries.

  158. I generally relish and agree with Frank Bruni’s commentary but not on this one. Listening to Ms. Haley’s remarks to the UN yesterday brought back memories of Colin Powell debasing himself while advancing the narrative that put us on track for the disastrous war in Iraq. Not happy with having to deal with an unstable North Korean ruler and the potential for a devastating war in Asia, this White House seems also intent on going to war against Iran. I guess that could be a way to really go after the country’s safety net given that together with the proposed tax cuts the war expenses will leave no option but to eliminate all safety net programs. As to Senator Gillibrand, other than her laudable crusade against sexual predators she really has not done much to prop her as a credible presidential candidate. But considering we put Trump in the White House with not even a scintilla of any government or legislative experience I guess the credentials now necessary to apply for the most important job in the country are very low.

  159. Why do you care about legislative experience ? What does that do to you. As a citizen, do you care about legislative process, or do you care to have as little rules imposed on you as possible ? From now on, I vote only for people who have zero legislative experience, like Trump. I can live without 90% of the legislation coming out from Congress. In fact, why not let local government legislate themselves. They know what law is apt for their community. At the federal level, you only need to enforce a few things, like civil rights, human rights, freedom of speech, etc.. If you go to your neighbor house, you'll notice the rules there might be different from your house. Do you want the HOA to have people "experienced" in HOA "legislation" to impose rules on every household in the subdivision, except for the very obvious ones, like keeping the lawn tidy ?

  160. T Trump has shown what incompetence looks like and his constant lying and eroded what little faith I had in his administration so I and the rest of the world don't believe anything he or his administration say. We need constant vigilance and rule of law that trump has to obey or we get a country where the rich have all of societies benefit at the detriment of everyone else. OH Wait that is what Republicans have always done and are doing with the redistribution of wealth from working class and middle class to the already obscenely wealthy. You need to ask yourself why do I swallow their propaganda so easily.

  161. It is past time for a woman to be president. I don't think Gillibrand or Haley are the best the country has to offer. I do fear that a woman in the White House will suffer a similar fate to that of Obama. As the first president of color he endured a great deal and the country probably slipped backward in terms of racism. The "See, we aren't racist! We have a black president!" In such a time it was crucial for white folks to take a strong role in anti-racism work. I suspect the election of a woman will spark a similar backlash. If we are lucky enough to have someone like Elizabeth Warren or Hillary Clinton in the White House it will be even more important for men to identify as feminists and press for equal pay and the end to misogyny and sexual misconduct.

  162. I agree with you, although I think Elizabeth Warren is too polarizing.

  163. No, Obama failed because of him, not his half blackness. A capable female president will be just like a capable male one. But she's not Hillary, not Gillibrandt, not Warren. We'll see about Haley. I like Tulsi Gabbarb too, but she may be still too young.

  164. No, Obama failed because of the old GOP playbook: delegitimize the black man, use code words and sideways winks to do it. The GOP has relied on racism to win for nearly half-a-century. You know, “The Southern Strategy”. Trump’s great innovation was to stop using the code words and just spit out the bigotry. “He says the things I think but am afraid to say.” The good news is that Democrats are building a coalition in which the die-hard racists (a shrinking and aging pool) are not a necessary part. It’s not that Northam and Jones won. It’s how they won: with formerly GOP suburbs turning purple and blue. Come back on November 7, 2018 and tell me what you see...

  165. Ever since the presidential election. the Democrats have come up with one idea after another to win. The first one I remember "We have to more people to think we do." In the resent governors race McAuliffe gave voting rights to convicted felons It was seen as a great victory for the democrats but Governor McAuliffe was a democrat and we have two senators who are democrats. It would have been a shock if Northam had not won.. In Alabama it also would have been a shock if Jones didn't win, But, right after the vote the democrats were saying they have to get more blacks to vote. Now we have Mr Buni saying maybe try to elect a different woman for president. In the meantime Democrats are trying to to pin the electron results on the Russians and even Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose. But releasing felons or getting more of a specific race out to vote may not help. It is like saying it is their turn to win congress back. In the past election Hillary touted that "Now it is my turn." In the meantime Trump was saying, "Now it is your turn." So far, the effort to win in 2018 0r 2020 is just more of the same.

  166. No one released felons. Felons were given the right to vote after serving their time in jail. They are still citizens. As for the recent election results,what are you talking about? It was definitely a shock that Jones won! And a good one, at that!

  167. Did you read Joe Scarborough's article about Newtonian Physics and the electorate? Basically, The third law states that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. It was true of Obama's election and of Trump's. Just waiting for the next reaction! I think it might have already begun.

  168. I always love your column, but this time, no, just no. I take the point that Trump has accidentally empowered certain women. But kicking the beehive doesn't make you an accidental beekeeper.

  169. Please read up on the experience of Julia Gillard in Australia. This is recent 21st Century history. Hillary Clinton received the Julia Gillard treatment. Whoever serves as our first female President will need to steel herself to prepare for a similar experience. She will need to have a lot of Margaret Thatcher in her--minus the ideology please!--to succeed in our macho country.

  170. Ms Hillebrandt and Ms Haley are to be admired for their willingness to stand up for the right of women to not be bullied, sexually or otherwise, by men. Both, however, are far more profoundly what we don't need - silent on the problems of income inequality, and the threat of the executive branch - the manifest reality of the corporate coup of American democracy, which is almost complete. Both are silent about the facts, and I suspect are clueless, that the Constitution is being violated daily by the executive branch, which is purposefully destroying the institutions that have sustained it. Haley should visit Ohio to see the eventual outcome of her economic "success" in South Carolina, and Hillebrandt is too arrogant to care about anyone who lives in a mobile home, or shoots up heroin or fentanyl, to numb themselves from the rage and despair at the hopelessness of escaping their serfdom to corporate masters. They are master politicians, crusaders for the politically expedient cause, and either oblivious to, or careless about, the Constitutional crisis, which is not a possibility, it is occurring now in slow motion.

  171. Kirsten Gillibrand is one savvy pol. It's in her blood. Her family's involvement in the game of politics has a high pedigree. It goes back more than a half century. Her Grandmother played an influential role in one of the most enduring political machines in the US, the Albany County Democratic Party. Under their mentor and Chairman, Dan O'Connell, the Albany Machine thrived. Old Dan kept the city in Democratic hands for decades. He installed its and this country's longest termed Mayor, Erastus Corning III. Mayor Corning served 42 years, coincidentally the number of floors in the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza's Corning Tower. Even when hospitalized in intensive care in Boston, Corning remained in "office" Couriers sent to Boston reported the Mayor coherent, and running the City impeccably. Corning remained Mayor until his death in Boston. Some say even after. Since his and O'Connell's departure decades ago, Albany remains locked solidly in Democratic hands. Its representatives are decided in the Primary. The General Election is merely a perfunctory exercise. As our dear Kirsten's profile becomes more acutely examined, the country will find a most capable politico. After all, she was born in Albany, the State's Capital, where politics rules. Read the fascinating tale of Albany from none other a source that Author William Kennedy. O' Albany indeed. DD Manhattan

  172. After Trump, I will only vote for non-politicians. I figure why should I not vote for people like me, who had never been a politician ? Doing that would balance out the Washington cesspool. At least we should have 50/50 mix of career politicians and people fresh in politics. But for the president, never again do I vote for a careered pol.

  173. The reluctant feminist? but don't worry, he'll tarnish her as he does that to anyone who exists in his sphere. For now, she smiles but tomorrow, who knows.

  174. Well then why not let tomorrow speak for itself ? If I see you with a beautiful smile and say well today you smile but tomorrow, who knows, insinuating your husband is a dour, I'd like to record your reaction.

  175. No wonder Trump kept calling them the failing New York Times. Bruni, if you and your kind want to call yourselves "progressive" in the real meaning of the word, then this is what you'll do. You don't go looking for just any female (like the floozy Hillary) to install her into the presidency, but if such a female figure emerges (like a Margaret Thatcher, or Condi Rice, or Haley might be OK also), then you don't unfairly target her. That's what being progressive is. The other way is just petulant and ignorant. See what a shrewd black/white candidate like Obama could do to win ? He didn't need you. I don't like Obama, but there's no denying he's smart enough to convince more than half the country to make him president. A truly remarkable female candidate will be able to do the same. She doesn't need your kind trumpeting for her. Look how Hillary did with all of your kind behind her. She still failed because she herself was a terrible candidate.

  176. I do admire Nikki Haley but I am a bit suspicious of her presentation of the supposed Iran weapon news. I can't seem to forget Colin Powell's similar speech to the UN. I also like Powell but even he has regretted giving that speech.

  177. I respectfully disagree. Gillibrand is a consummate insider in an era of anti establishment. Haly would never make it past the primaries. No way republicans will ever nominate a woman for president.

  178. "You are dumb or otherwise impaired, but you can't help it" is the meaning behind a southern lady's "Bless his heart". And that's how then Govenor Nikki Haley dismissed Trump's March 2016 retaliatory tweet to her opinion that he should release his tax records. In search of a viable red warrior queen, to balance his article's premise, Mr Bruni selects Ms Haley. I can't debate whether she's the best Trump-churned, GOP prospect or not. The word 'best' would be meaningless. What I CAN SAY is that, despite her genteel dis of Trump, she supported him to advance herself. And Ms Haley sat there, complicit, when Trump utters his "no choice but to totally destroy" promise on all Americans' behalf and when 'America First' inspired rising European white nationalistm. Our allies can only see her as the smaller mouthpiece of the Trump problem. Right now? We need to be concerned with Kushner's nepotism, his on-going family businesses, his lack of any diplomatic experience, and what has he been up to! Saudi Arabia started pushing on Qatar, consolidated power, and is getting what it needs for a Yemen invasion from Nikki Haley! Comparisons with Colin Powell's blundering "proof" of WMD's are already in digital ink! Now is the time to be very suspicious of this Republican UN ambassador and to be on the look-out for any false-flag operation intended to drive Our Troops into new conflicts.

  179. Nikki Haley has been extremely impressive as UN Ambassador. She is articulate, smart, a self-promoter without coming across as such, and she seems to be setting American foreign policy without much supervision by the State Department. She has Trump's support without appearing sycophantic about it, which is an amazing trait in this administration. She has flatly denied that she would accept the position of Secretary of State but maybe, her future ambitions don't require that office. I see her making a bid for President sometime in the future and, depending upon circumstances, maybe even as soon as 2020. She, not Hillary, may be the first woman president.

  180. Gillibrand's relentlessness won't necessarily make her a good candidate for President. My mother a NY Democrat who loved Hillary can stand Gillibrand. Many Clinton and Franken supporters want her head. In all likelihood when 2020 rolls around she will be yesterday's news with a lot of enemies to worry about.

  181. I’m still not sure Ambassador Haley can sell her brand with Trump still in people’s minds. But it’s true that once someone becomes the major-party candidate, we have to take her/him seriously. Still, this country is still neck deep in a battle against misogyny and bigotry. It’s no secret (or surprise) that several of the “men” who hammered Hillary Clinton hardest for her external faults (and e-mails! E-mails!) are out of their jobs after being exposed as repulsive predators. And it’s pretty obvious that many votes for Trump were votes against an outgoing African-American President and the idea of a female President. Oh and don’t forget McCain and Burr protecting poor little Jeff Sessions from Senator Kamala Harris. I do think there are many capable female candidates for President. I’m not sure that this country is poised to elect one.