The Double Standard of Miller/Delgado

 

I tend to change the channel when former Trump campaign spokesman Jason Miller appears on a CNN panel. This is not due to his opinions or dedication to an administration I abhor, but because it’s difficult to separate his on-air commentary from the knowledge of his affair with fellow Trump staffer AJ Delgado. His continued presence in the public eye is a pointed reminder that despite the adage “it takes two to tango” — in this case, it appears that only one participant is forced to suffer the professional consequences.

At this point, many lurid details of their relationship have become public knowledge. Delgado says that Miller claimed he was separated from his wife when they began their relationship. He has kept mostly quiet regarding the specific circumstances, though now-published text messages indicate ongoing involvement rather than a one-night stand (as initial rumors suggested). Whatever the circumstances may be, it resulted in the birth of a baby boy who did not ask to be the center of a public custody dispute with both parents demanding the other receive mental health screenings amid accusations of libel and abuse.

Despite both parties being highly visible and vocal supporters of the President during his 2016 campaign — as well as members of the transition team — neither one made it to the White House. Miller was the first pick to be Communications Director and declined the offer only two days later to “spend time with his family” after his infidelity became news. But Miller ended up doing just fine. He went on to join advisory firm Teneo Strategy, became a regular political contributor on CNN, and still visits the White House on occasion to offer his expertise.

Yet Delgado has all but disappeared. Now she’s back in her Miami hometown doing “non-profit legal work” with no more almost-nightly appearances on Hannity, no more pieces in the Wall Street Journal, and no more trips to Trump Tower. Whatever one may think of her choice to publicize details of the ongoing legal proceedings on Twitter, there’s something rather uneven in how their political careers shook out.

Try to set aside who is to be believed and try to set aside one’s opinion of who is in the wrong. Instead, ask why it is that Miller is on cable news several nights a week while Delgado is absent after so much prior airtime. Ask why Miller has the administration’s ear still while Delgado has been made a persona non grata. Ask why Delgado deactivated her social media for nearly a year after being flooded by abuse by those too happy to point out that an affair is inconsistent with “family values.” Ask why only Delgado is called a “whore,” “slut,” and “homewrecker” by gleeful trolls while Miller gets a shrug from the media and keeps his marriage.

Some will say there’s an imbalance in qualifications that led to these lopsided results. But Delgado’s background has not suddenly changed since becoming a mother. Parenthood has not altered the very same résumé that had brought her to the Trump campaign and to so many talk shows. She continues to work while raising their son, so it’s not a matter of electing to drop out of the workforce to stay at home.

The repercussions to Delgado’s political career suggest something deeper than all that. This episode highlights something inherently rotten in our culture that continues to blame women solely for sexual indiscretions. Much like Hamlet’s Ophelia who was urged to “get thee to a nunnery,” Delgado has been banished from the political sphere even though it’s obvious that an affair requires mutual participation. She went from being everywhere to being absolutely nowhere in the space of a few months.

Even though our news media claims to be enlightened to the struggles women face after it was forced to cope with the #MeToo fallout, that same media continues to play a role in placing far harsher punishment on only one participant — the one who has to experience the most visible physical consequences of sex. This is the very same media that flirts with the idea of giving self-professed male sexual abusers a chance to redeem themselves. Yet they can’t be bothered to book a female commentator due to her sin of participating in a consensual sexual relationship that happened to result in pregnancy.

It’s a curious thing that in this supposedly enlightened time of societal self-reflection we still refuse to forgive a single woman for making an error in judgment. Perhaps that woman “should have known better,” but so should have the man with a wife at home. It’s disgraceful that Delgado has been dropped by the networks who loved having her on previously while Miller gets away relatively scot-free.

Of course, there can be reasons we don’t know about that may explain why Delgado has been ostracized. On its face, however, it seems that the same contradicting expectations apply: “boys will be boys” while women are expected to be sexual puritans. The man keeps his marriage, keeps making big bucks, keeps his White House connections, and keeps his visibility — and the woman ends up with next to nothing.

We may be getting closer to some sort of cultural awakening, but clearly we have a very long way to go.


Skyler Mann is a mother and professional who moonlights as a political commentator. She was a managing editor and a host for the Pocket Full of Liberty podcast. She has a BA in philosophy from Columbia University and can be found on Twitter at @sevenlayercake.

There are 60 comments.

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  1. Stina Member

    Skyler Mann: and keeps his marriage.

    That’s because his wife is either a saint, screwing someone on the side, or likes the $$.

    As for the other, it is probably a combination of her own choices (not everyone chooses the same as you) and the other factors.

    And bad people like to pick on people they perceive as weaker than they are.

    Simply put, Delgado picked a horrible person to do the dirty tango with, and just like the natural consequences (pregnancy and child bearing), she bears the brunt of it. Perhaps women could learn not to have sex with crappy men?

    • #1
    • April 26, 2018, at 11:15 AM PDT
    • 18 likes
  2. RufusRJones Member

    First of all, don’t google any of this. Wow. LOL

    Jason Miller now works for Teneo which is a swampy as it gets. Unbelievable. Huma Abeden has sucked tons of money out of that place, while working in government. They literally get tips in Gucci Gulch and sell them to hedge funds. Legal but putrid. #vomit 

    Delgado seems pretty damn smart to me, but I’m not an expert.

    • #2
    • April 26, 2018, at 11:32 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  3. Ed G. Member

    Skyler Mann:

    Yet Delgado has all but disappeared. Now she’s back in her Miami hometown doing “non-profit legal work” with no more almost-nightly appearances on Hannity, no more pieces in the Wall Street Journal, and no more trips to Trump Tower. Whatever one may think of her choice to publicize details of the ongoing legal proceedings on Twitter, there’s something rather uneven in how their political careers shook out.

    Try to set aside who is to be believed and try to set aside one’s opinion of who is in the wrong.

    Why should we set aside these questions as if they don’t matter? I don’t think you explain why we should do that. 

    For that matter, you also don’t explain how personal choice figures into the post-incident outcomes. Are you suggesting that Delgado would rather be doing something other than “non-profit legal work” (not sure why that needs quotes, especially considering that the link indicates she’s earning $120k per year doing it)?

    Also, you seem to be familiar with the detail of the insults Delgado has suffered via social media. Do you know if Miller suffered insults too? I just assume that anyone of any prominence suffers insults on social media especially if they are caught up in scandal and seediness – as both Miller and Delgado seem to have gotten themselves into.

    Last, do you have anything concrete or just insinuation?

    Otherwise, I don’t think you’ll get much argument around here that the media sucks, as does the culture in DC/NY/LA elite circles.

    • #3
    • April 26, 2018, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  4. Aaron Miller Member

    Without knowing (or caring) about any of the details, I’d say the difference could be as simple as personalities… and not emblematic of some enduring cultural bias.

    Maybe he wanted to remain in the spotlight and she didn’t. Maybe she wanted a change of venue, far from DC politics. Maybe she was more active on social media than he ever was, thereby inviting more attention from that direction. Maybe he was more shameless and dogged in pursuing new opportunities. 

    • #4
    • April 26, 2018, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • 15 likes
  5. Ed G. Member

    AltarGirl (View Comment):

    …..

    Simply put, Delgado picked a horrible person to do the dirty tango with, and just like the natural consequences (pregnancy and child bearing), she bears the brunt of it. Perhaps women could learn not to have sex with crappy men?

    Well, if everything I’ve ever heard about what attracts women is true, then Miller is either standup-comic-hilarious or he has big hands. Because he sure isn’t a looker (not that he’s ugly either, he’s just not in Delgado’s league on that score). One can synthesize all of the cues in order to speculate about many things – but why would we want do that?

    • #5
    • April 26, 2018, at 12:01 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Jamie K. Wilson Member

    This is such a messy issue – so many landmines! and that would probably explain the dearth of comments. Yes, Delgado is not being treated fairly. Unfortunately, life isn’t fair. Even worse, had she chosen to have an abortion (I’m betting Mr. Miller did indeed propose that as a solution at least once) none of this had to come out. Good for her, that she chose life! That is surely the best thing she could have done once she was pregnant.

    I do not, however, have sympathy for the “white male privilege” ideas she espouses in other interviews. He behaved badly – extraordinarily badly. His wife has chosen to remain married, which, considering that she is the most injured party other than the babies, is pretty generous of her. Delgado knew he was married, and she should, at her age, have known that “but we’re getting divorced” is one of the oldest lines in the book. She made a terrible, terrible mistake, and the reality is that mistakes have consequences. 

    Miller may still be highly paid – but once this deliberately dragged-out court case is over, much of his pay may be going to Delgado in the form of child support. I’m sure his wife is also making him pay heavily for his misdeeds. Perhaps instead of being angry because Miller is doing so well, Delgado might do better to first, focus on raising that baby and second, rebuilding her own career. He may be rising now, but he’ll fall in the future. And if he continues behaving the way he has, who’s going to catch him then?

    • #6
    • April 26, 2018, at 12:04 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  7. Basil Fawlty Member

    Skyler Mann: Whatever one may think of her choice to publicize details of the ongoing legal proceedings on Twitter,

    Hmmm.
     

    • #7
    • April 26, 2018, at 12:05 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. RufusRJones Member

    Jamie K. Wilson (View Comment):
    Miller may still be highly paid

    Look at what this parasite does. He likely had no better options. And people worry about Trump. Screw that. 

    • #8
    • April 26, 2018, at 12:09 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    I really question her taste in men (although men perceived as powerful can attract women even if they aren’t lookers). I hope the son takes after his Mom.

    • #9
    • April 26, 2018, at 12:20 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. RufusRJones Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    I really question her taste in men (although men perceived as powerful can attract women even if they aren’t lookers). I hope the son takes after his Mom.

    Hot and Harvard. lol How does this happen? lol 

    • #10
    • April 26, 2018, at 12:25 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  11. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    So this whole mess shows sexism? 

     

    • #11
    • April 26, 2018, at 12:38 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  12. Jules PA Member

    Skyler Mann: there’s something rather uneven in how their political careers shook out.

    It may be that Delgado has made choices for a low profile. 

    Off the top of my head, removing all public attacks, so she can raise her son in peace and dignity. 

    But you’re right, if they were both in the limelight, I wouldn’t be surprised if she were shamed with more regularity than him.

    But, since she is not following a high public profile, this is a counterfactual we may never see.

    • #12
    • April 26, 2018, at 12:44 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  13. Jules PA Member

    I can say that I’m happy that Jerry Springer and the Miller-Delgado Whitehouse Brawl in not active.

    • #13
    • April 26, 2018, at 12:46 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  14. Western Chauvinist Member

    Who? What? Am I reading The Enquirer? 

    • #14
    • April 26, 2018, at 12:54 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  15. Ed G. Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Who? What? Am I reading The Enquirer?

    No, it’s the Daily Mail. 

    • #15
    • April 26, 2018, at 12:58 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  16. Hypatia Inactive

    Gigantic “who cares?”

    You can’t trust people not to screw around. 

    • #16
    • April 26, 2018, at 1:02 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  17. Skyler Mann Contributor
    Skyler Mann Post author

    I’m pleased to see that this has inspired so much conversation, which was exactly my intention ☺

    • #17
    • April 26, 2018, at 1:02 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. Russ Schnitzer Member

    Does Ricochet have an “ignore” feature for specific authors?

    This post, in my cursory read, is not worthy of Ricochet.

    • #18
    • April 26, 2018, at 1:54 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  19. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    By the way, nature drives the whole double standard on sex. Women will always get more scorn for acting out sexually. Built into the biology. 

    Women also get to use sexual appeal in day to day affairs and men don’t, so it turns out life is not fair.

    • #19
    • April 26, 2018, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  20. Ed G. Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    By the way, nature drives the whole double standard on sex. Women will always get more scorn for acting out sexually. Built into the biology.

    Women also get to use sexual appeal in day to day affairs and men don’t, so it turns out life is not fair.

    Well I hit the jackpot then. I use sex appeal every day of the week and twice on Sundays (once before church and then again after church once all the ladies had a chance to take a good long gander). 

    • #20
    • April 26, 2018, at 2:04 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  21. RufusRJones Member

    Russ Schnitzer (View Comment):

    Does Ricochet have an “ignore” feature for specific authors?

    This post, in my cursory read, is not worthy of Ricochet.

    Why? 

    • #21
    • April 26, 2018, at 2:06 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Hypatia (View Comment):

    Gigantic “who cares?”

    You can’t trust people not to screw around.

    I’m with you @hypatia, and may I just add some common sense here. If I were stupid enough to have an affair with a married man, my first concern would be birth control. The pill was invented a long time ago. 

    • #22
    • April 26, 2018, at 2:09 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  23. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    By the way, nature drives the whole double standard on sex. Women will always get more scorn for acting out sexually. Built into the biology.

    Women also get to use sexual appeal in day to day affairs and men don’t, so it turns out life is not fair.

    Well I hit the jackpot then. I use sex appeal every day of the week and twice on Sundays (once before church and then again after church once all the ladies had a chance to take a good long gander).

    Oh? What explicit sexual messages do you send as man that are like what women do? 

    And let me give an example:

    Lipstick is designed to make a woman’s lips more sexually appealing. As is makeup. As are high heels, and any clothing that shows off the female form. In fact, pretty women have been shown, in studies, to inhibit logical thought in men. 

    Now, if we really wanted the workplace to be “fair” we would bar women from wearing any of those things. I am not calling for that, I might add, but as long as we are going to talk about “boys clubs” maybe we need to talk about how women use sexual appeal every day.

    • #23
    • April 26, 2018, at 2:10 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  24. Dorrk Member

    As long as we’re dismissing any mitigating individual qualities which might be inconvenient to a predetermined argument, women in general tend to be both more risk-averse and more likely to internalize hardship as a personal injury, both of which could be factors in a woman withdrawing from public life post-scandal while a man soldiers on.

    • #24
    • April 26, 2018, at 2:12 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  25. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    I really question her taste in men (although men perceived as powerful can attract women even if they aren’t lookers). I hope the son takes after his Mom.

    I see it frequently in academia.

    • #25
    • April 26, 2018, at 2:13 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  26. RufusRJones Member

    FWIW, Dennis Prager is a genius on this stuff. Your children would be wise to listen to him. 

    • #26
    • April 26, 2018, at 2:21 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. Boss Mongo Member

    Never even heard of these two knuckleheads before this post.

    Not surprising: I’d watch MSNBC before I watched CNN. At least they’re honestly icky. They revel in their ickiness.

    Having read only the OP, I can’t find it in me to care about the issue or empathize with the knuckleheads. And as some of you know, I’m an empathizing muldoon.

    I think, though, @skylarmann imputes a lot of motives to “them” for which she provides no justification, other than “that’s the way it is.”

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    I really question her taste in men (although men perceived as powerful can attract women even if they aren’t lookers).

    I know, right? Sometimes I feel the urge to jump up on the bar and holler, “Ladies, please, I have a mind!”

    • #27
    • April 26, 2018, at 2:23 PM PDT
    • 19 likes
  28. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

     

    I know, right? Sometimes I feel the urge to jump up on the bar and holler, “Ladies, please, I have a mind!”

    It’s a burden some of us must bear. 😎

    • #28
    • April 26, 2018, at 2:25 PM PDT
    • 13 likes
  29. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):
    It’s a burden some of us must bear. 😎

    And you, of course, must fight off the cheerleaders!

    • #29
    • April 26, 2018, at 2:28 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. Ed G. Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    Bryan G. Stephens  

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    By the way, nature drives the whole double standard on sex. Women will always get more scorn for acting out sexually. Built into the biology.

    Women also get to use sexual appeal in day to day affairs and men don’t, so it turns out life is not fair.

    Well I hit the jackpot then. I use sex appeal every day of the week and twice on Sundays (once before church and then again after church once all the ladies had a chance to take a good long gander).

    Oh? What explicit sexual messages do you send as man that are like what women do? 

    For one, my bald spot. Studies have shown that a monkish bald spot surrounded by a ring of hair is suggestive to women and increased their libido. Did I mention that I also sit in the first pew?

    Also, my excess pounds. Clear sign I can provide and I hear that chicks dig that. It works the same as driving a sports car.

    Maybe most of all: I have four kids. That advertises my animal like virility. Yet tamed enough to go to church and keep the kiddies in line and respectable. Chicks dig that too. They’re free to fantasize without having to face the realities of having four kids and that reality being hardly sexy at all. 

    Then there are the small ball things: a smirk and a wink – rogue. Always smile when you see them – warm flatterers are taken in more readily than cold standoffish types.

    Oh, I work it. Trust me bay-bee.

    • #30
    • April 26, 2018, at 2:30 PM PDT
    • 18 likes
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