You are the company you keep.
As of Thursday morning, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition team has yet to even contact several federal agencies, including the Pentagon and State Department.
Trump has, however, had time to meet with boxing legend Floyd Mayweather. On Wednesday night, Trump’s son, Donald J. Trump Jr., tweeted out a picture of the three men with the caption: “ Had a great visit from @FloydMayweather today with @realdonaldtrump. One of the best all time boxing legends.”
Now, you might be thinking that presidents meet with famous athletes all the time, and it’s not unusual for them to pose for a photo op. What’s the big deal?
Trump is coming off of one of the most sexist (not to mention racist and xenophobic) presidential campaigns in recent history. And Mayweather just happens to be a serial domestic abuser.
Mayweather has been accused of domestic violence seven times in 14 years by five different women, and those allegations have led to five domestic violence convictions. Six years ago, two of Mayweather’s sons witnessed their father beat up their mother. One of the sons, then only nine, told the police in a statement, that “[Mayweather] was punching her and kicking her. He was punching her in the head and he was stomping on her sholder (sic).”
Trump has been described by many as wildly insecure, and he has shown throughout his decades in the spotlight that he craves the approval and company of the rich and famous. So, it’s not a surprise that Trump would take a meeting with Mayweather — after all, their personalities are pretty similar.(Though, as the New York Daily News pointed out, Trump has not always been a huge fan of Mayweather’s; in May 2014, he was certain that Mayweather’s match against Marcos Maidana was rigged.)
But it is significant that Trump — a man who has repeatedly said that“Nobody has more respect for women than I do” — would so happily pose with a man who has beaten up so many of them.
Of course, significant isn’t the same as surprising. After all, it was just a few months ago that a tape from 2005 was released in which Trump bragged about grabbing women “by the pussy” without their consent. Since then, more than a dozen women have accused the president-elect of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
While Trump bragged in his victory speech that he pledges to “be president for all Americans,” in the past 10 days he has continued to surround himself with people who reinforce his sexist and racist outlook of the world. (Mayweather is the least of these worries; Steve Bannon, Trump’s Chief Strategist to the President, is a white nationalist and alleged domestic abuser as well.)
Of course, some would say you get what you can attract, and Trump has not attracted the cream of the classy crop in the sports world. Relatively few athletes came out to publicly support him during the election, and among many of those, there is a common thread of sexism, bigotry, and abuse.
Bobby Knight — the retired college basketball coach known for physically abusing his players, misogyny, and racism — publicly campaigned for Trump at his rallies. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman and golfer John Daly both endorsed Trump, and both have have been charged with domestic assault. Mike Tyson, Trump’s long-time friend, is a convicted rapist. Who else wants to Make America Great Again? NFL player Richie Incognito, a noted bully; former NFL coach and current ESPN commentator Mike Ditka, a noted bigot; and former MLB player John Rocker, a noted homophobe; retired NFL great Shawn Merriman, who was once sued for assault, battery, and false imprisonment; and former UFC star Tito Ortiz, who has been jailed for battery and accused of domestic violence. Oh, and Lou Holtz.
Meanwhile, many sports stars are actively avoiding all things Trump as a sign of protest — a few NBA teams have stopped staying in his hotels, and there are questions as to whether NBA teams will ever make the ceremonial post-championship trip to the White House during Trump’s tenure.
It’s hard to blame them — if you are the company you keep, then minorities and women in this country are in serious trouble.