Speaking Truth to Trump


Marie Yovanovitch












Frequently, it is women who have come forward, in droves, to speak truth to [Trump’s] power, or to nonsense, or, perhaps most accurately, to the nonsense that feeds his power.

From Sally Yates to E. Jean Carroll to April Ryan to Greta Thunberg to Fiona Hill to the undocumented housekeepers who used to work at his properties, it is often women who have stood up to say “No” to this president. As Sandra Diaz, one of those two undocumented cleaners, explained her decision to finally speak up even though everyone around her warned her not to: “How can you know something so big, how someone — who goes on national television and says something — and you know it’s not true … whether it’s the president or not, you have the responsibility to say no. To pass through this barrier of fear and say no.” Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch [below] described, in real time, at a public Intelligence Committee hearing last month, what it feels like to pass through that same barrier of fear: As Trump tweeted threats at her midhearing, she was asked how she was experiencing it. “It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch quietly confessed to the members of the Intelligence Committee. “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.”

DAHLIA LITHWICK “The Women Who Still Speak Up,” Slate, December 6, 2019.