Underground Comix legend Robert Crumb has never been a fan of United States President Donald Trump. Crumb skewered Trump in a 1989 comic, decades before his political aspirations became all too real.
But in a newsletter interview published earlier this month, Crumb placed blame for Trump's rise on the media's ratings greed and the Democratic Party's handling of Bernie Sanders for Trump's rise to power:
The media of course loved him — loved him! They couldn't get enough of Trump. He really shot their ratings up. People were either morbidly curious, or outraged, or they supported him–all of 'em. All the people I know that despised him, they just couldn't help but watch him and gasp in indignation at his latest outrageous statement. "Did you hear what Trump said yesterday?" [laughing] That sort of thing. And of course his supporters just lapped it up. The more outrageous the better, as far as they were concerned.
Yeah, but I would watch him and find him so offensive, so obnoxious and hateful. How could anybody just looking at him and watching his behavior think for one second that he's anything but a sociopath!? I just couldn't imagine how anyone could think he's a viable candidate for the presidency. On the other hand, Bernie Sanders who was out actually speaking some truth – I thought he was great. You see that's what happens when you get a politician who actually tells the truth— nope, can't have him. The Democrats made sure he didn't get nominated. They reaped what they sowed, the Democratic Party operatives, when they fixed it so Bernie would lose the primary votes in New York and California.
Crumb also attributed Trump's success on the tendency of some people to be attracted to authoritarians, drawing parallels between Trump and Adolf Hitler.
Hitler explains all that in Mein Kampf. He's very straight forward about it. If you want to galvanize the population behind your political cause you've got to speak simply to them, you've got to keep it black and white and you've got to have an enemy that's very obvious, that you can point to. Hitler was kind of a genius that way. I wonder how soon it's going to be before the general run of the supporters of Trump start to feel betrayed. I wonder how long that's going to take.
But Crumb veered into bizarre and controversial territory when he seemed to wave off concerns about Trump's comments admitting to sexual assault and reported groping of multiple women:
I thought it was rather lame that they made such a big issue out of Trump's crude sexual remarks. I don't think that's one of the main things to be concerned with Trump. He's one of those "deplorables" who can't help himself but talk that way, and as he said, it's just "locker room talk," and 90% of heterosexual males can be caught talking that way. Ok, you don't want your president talking that way, but in private, who cares? It's like Clinton, who cares about Monica Lewinsky? I couldn't give a shit about any of that sexual behavior unless he's raping women, which he's not doing . Trump is not actually raping anybody, to my knowledge. I mean, some woman said he behaved inappropriately. I've been inappropriate, and I'm sure you have at times in your life, you know? That shouldn't be the main issue. But the Democrats tried to make such a big deal about that. And the media, "Oh, how terrible that he said those things," grabbing pussy, or whatever. People's sex life, unless they're committing rape or doing something like that, should be nobody's business as far as I'm concerned. To make that an issue, and not talk about what a fucking crook he's been in his business transactions? What's that about?
Actually, "grabbing pussy" without consent is legitimately, unquestionably sexual assault.
Crumb was pressed on the matter by interviewer Alex Wood:
Alex: But Robert, it is an issue. Because what woman are saying is you can't treat me this way, you can't talk to me this way, and you can't take your hand and grope my body this way. It's an issue for woman, and they're half the population. It may not be an issue for you, but it is an issue for most women.
Crumb: Yeah, but it's crude talk. And I'm sure…
Alex: But it's more than talk. He fondled them. He would go and fondle their breasts. He would actually put his hands on them, he would accost them. And he also did it verbally. From a woman's point of view, they shouldn't have to put up with that.
Crumb: I totally agree with that, but on the other hand again, it's like 90% of the heterosexual male population has behaved that way some time in their lives, and I've done it myself when I was young, I was out of control sometimes. If you're not raping people or molesting children, that's like a minor issue. It's not the main reason for not electing somebody, because they've said some crude things about women in a private conversation which someone happened to be recording. I don't know if he really grabbed women's pussies. I don't know. I wouldn't put it past such an obnoxious s.o.b. Some say he kissed them when he was not invited to and stuff like that. Almost all men in high positions of power are guilty of that stuff. It's a huge hypocrisy that's just not talked about openly.
Yikes! Those comments makes Crumb's ultimate hopes for a Trump presidency seem tame by comparison:
Trump's behavior reminds me a bit of Mussolini, but Mussolini was actually an intellectual who, unlike Trump, read books occasionally. Gosh, I hope the Donald doesn't end up like Mussolini, hanging upside down by his ankles, with a raging mob beating his head to a pulp.
As you can guess, people who have read the interview are pushing back on social media against Crumb's statements on Trump's various sexual assault allegations/self-made comments. You can read the full interview over at the Crumb Newsletter.