Voices: Donald Trump Jr.’s creepy obsession with Amber Heard and what it really tells us

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Donald Trump Jr speaking in Florida at CPAC 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)
Donald Trump Jr speaking in Florida at CPAC 2022 (AFP via Getty Images)

Cassidy Hutchinson’s highly damaging testimony before the January 6 Committee drew a font of furious, misogynistic comparisons to Amber Heard from Donald Trump supporters — including the former president’s most online son, Don Jr.

Junior was one of the thousands of social media users who obsessively watched Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against Heard unfold and then tweeted sexist abuse about her. “Maybe the most telling part of the Amber Turd trial is that not a single man seems to have come out in her defense saying she’s great,” he tweeted in May. In June, the former president’s son wrote on Twitter, “Believe all women... except Amber Heard. $15,000,000 in compensatory and punitive damages to Depp, and perhaps a case that could end the effective rabid femminist [sic] notion that all men are guilty before being proven innocent that we’ve seen as of late.”

Though less prolific on his father’s competing social network Truth Social than he is on Twitter, Don Jr. also offered his thoughts on Heard there as well, reposting memes of her tearful face and repeatedly joking about the feces-in-the-bed allegation. (By the way, all of this is despite the fact that Don Jr. seemed to find Heard’s claims convincing back in 2017, based on his own tweets.)

After the Depp vs. Heard trial ended, Don Jr. began using Heard as an all-purpose political metaphor for anything he doesn’t like. “Imagine what Amber Heard would have done with Red Flag Laws,” he tweeted in June, apparently implying that women would falsely accuse their partners of domestic abuse in order to confiscate their guns. On Truth Social, he posted a meme with a text overlay that reads, “‘I hope interest rates don’t go crazy.’ Interest rates:” over a picture of Heard crying on the stand.

So of course, as Hutchinson’s testimony unfolded, Junior retweeted a Spider-Mans-pointing-to-each-other meme with the faces of Hutchinson, Heard, Dr Christine Blasey Ford, and Jussie Smollett pasted on them. The misogyny that fueled Don Jr.’s social media blasts about the Heard trial — a departure from his usual political conspiracy theory content — also comes into focus when you notice the other people he has compared Hutchinson to in order to discredit her. Dr Ford, for instance, is a favorite. On Truth Social, he posted a meme showing a picture of Hutchinson testifying that gradually morphed into a photo of Dr Ford testifying about Brett Kavanaugh.

Long before Amber Heard became a lightning rod for unspoken sexist fury, Don Jr. made his Instagram and Twitter accounts safe spaces to vent one’s misogyny. Sexist jokes and a creepy fixation on trans people are hallmarks of his social media presence. After all, he’s only parroting back what his, and his father’s, base wants to hear. His online trolling and attempts to humiliate Hillary Clinton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, and even Greta Thunberg are precisely what has garnered him his popularity.

It’s an aggressive, regressive tactic also used by the likes of Matt Gaetz and Ben Shapiro. It’s why Trump’s campaign for president barely felt a dent after the Access Hollywood recording came out. Indeed, scrolling through Don Jr.’s gleeful online sexism is just a perusal of the gauche, raw material from which the Conservative Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is made.