Why do white women defend Matt Gaetz and previous guy, even if those guys don't talk to each other

The 2020 election showed how Trump was defeated by defections among white women but there remain a sizable number still wedded to supporting white male politicians regardless of their character.

Why is it that white women in the United States have often wielded their collective power to support and amplify white male oppressors?

The historical record is filled with examples of how white women in the United States, including those who espoused a commitment to “women’s rights,” worked against the interests of other women — especially women of color. And the record reveals how many of these women have worked to protect white men, even those who have violated and exploited women.

One week after the New York Times reported on a federal investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz, news broke that the Florida Republican would be headlining a Women for America First summit. Organized by a group of Trump-supporting women that has direct ties to the rally that preceded the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the summit aims to bring together conservative women — mostly white — who are committed to “saving America.”

Some might wonder why a congressman currently under federal investigation over whether he had sex with a minor would be headlining a women’s summit. But Gaetz’s appearance at the summit, as well as his efforts to promote his talk leading up to his Friday speech, were no mere coincidence.

While popular narratives tend to focus on the men who were enslavers, the historical record reveals how white women were equally invested in upholding slavery — and no less violent in their interactions with enslaved people. White women played an active role in the buying and selling of enslaved people and bolstered their own economic and social status at the expense of Black people.

Far beyond skillful PR, amid his repeated denials of wrongdoing, the move sheds light on a history of how white men, specifically misogynists and white supremacists, have found refuge in white women’s groups. White women in the United States have often wielded their collective power to support and even amplify white men engaged in the oppression of others; Gaetz is just the latest white politician to receive their cover.


Despite claims of unity among women, what history tells us is that when white women have to make a decision, they often operate within their own racial interests.

The same evidence disputes early attempts in popular culture to portray white women as passive figures in the country’s history of slavery, when the reality could not have been further from the truth.


Two people familiar with the matter said Gaetz tried to schedule a visit with Trump after it was first revealed that he was being investigated, but the request was rejected by aides close to the former President, who have urged Trump not to stick his neck out to defend Gaetz. Harlan Hill, a spokesman for Gaetz, said the congressman did not request a meeting with Trump this week.
“Rep. Gaetz was welcomed to Trump Doral this week and has not sought to meet with President Trump himself,” Hill said in a statement to CNN, claiming that Gaetz
The interference by Trump’s aides signals that Gaetz finds himself increasingly isolated as he weathers a potentially career-ending scandal just months after he offered to leave his plum job in Congress to join the 45th President’s impeachment defense team. Trump has issued only one statement about Gaetz since the public first learned of the congressman’s role in a sex trafficking inquiry at the beginning of April. In it, Trump denied ever receiving a blanket pardon request from the 38-year-old congressman and noted Gaetz’s denial of the allegations against him.

  • April 12, 2021