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Froma Harrop: When women's dignity counts for zero

 

Froma Harrop

 

 

The woman soon to be Rudolph Giuliani's third ex-wife is not the most sympathetic of victims. Judith Nathan cavorted openly with Giuliani while the New York mayor was still living with his second wife and their two children.  

 

The second Mrs. Giuliani learned she was being left while watching a news conference called by her husband. She obtained a restraining order barring Nathan from visiting Gracie Mansion, which was, after all, the family home. (Giuliani had been taking her to events there.)  

 

Giuliani's contempt for women's honor may have found a safe space in Donald Trump World, where he serves as the president's lawyer and surrogate bigmouth. But it has run into a wall in Melania Trump World.  

 

During a trip to Israel, Giuliani announced that the first lady buys her husband's story -- that Melania believed Donald when he said he didn't have an affair with a porn star.  

 

Melania's spokeswoman immediately shot back: "I don't believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani." Not ever.  

 

You see, Trump World thinks women's dignity counts for nothing. This goes far deeper than the belief that powerful men project an animal magnetism under which everyone succumbs. Under the old rules, men committing adultery tried to keep their affairs secret so as to spare their wives humiliation and avoid offending moralists. Not this crowd.  

 

Giuliani presumed that Melania would passively let him invent things she was thinking and, in the process, make her look stupid.  

 

But Melania is not about to be trampled by anyone, much less ridiculous 70-somethings playing the young buck.  

 

Let's be honest here. Melania is herself a third wife undoubtedly aware of her husband's vulgarity and, one can believe, attracted to his wealth. Where their marriage now stands is the source of great speculation. We await her memoirs.  

 

But Melania is carving out a good deal of her own space. She won broad praise for noting the evil of her husband's policy separating migrants from their children. (No one was fooled by her call for "both sides" to stop the practice.) 

 

Melania has long stood as an island of civilization in a White House defiled by blatant lies and crude manners. Admired for her impeccable posture, quiet demeanor and refined dress, Melania seems sadly alone. The one time she looked radiantly happy was in the cultured presence of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte.  

 

The acts of consenting adults are not something this writer obsesses on. However, that's only as long as the cheaters don't intentionally inflict pain on their spouses. On this score, Giuliani's callous behavior is close to psychotic.  

 

Last week, the 74-year-old was gushing to the Daily Mail about his new girlfriend, a Louisiana fundraiser named Jennifer LeBlanc. Asked whether he thinks the relationship with LeBlanc has potential, Giuliani told the press, "Yeah, if you guys don't screw it up and scare her away."  

 

Queried on this, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders replied, "I'm not today or tomorrow or at any point ever going to comment on Rudy Giuliani's love life."  

 

A nation thanks her.  

 

In the Mail interview, Giuliani called his current wife "malicious," accusing Nathan of trying to get more money out of the divorce procedures. No doubt she is. But back in 2003, when Giuliani was treating his then-wife as a subhuman zero, he and Nathan were out and about flaunting their liaison. Ah, the great man had finally found his soul mate.  

 

As for Melania, I pray that her sparks of independence don't lead to her eventual trashing at the hands of Trump World. Under the old norms, dignity wins out. Good luck, Melania, and stand strong. 

 

Froma Harrop, a syndicated columnist, writes for the Providence (Rhode Island) Journal. Her e-mail address is [email protected]

 

 

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