TOWOIT #236

September 15, 2017… Day 239

I’ve been candid a few times since Monday’s Effective Candor workshop at the office. None of those times did I stop and consider a single thing from the workshop — but that’s how it’s been with me and lessons lately. Maybe it’s that I was standing up for myself, and I think it’s better to just do it than to laboriously figure out how best to do it.

In a team meeting yesterday we were asked for feedback about whether we felt aware of what our potential career paths were at the firm. I said that I felt like as “support staff” there was just a general assumption that I must not care much about my career path. I was reminded that I was lucky to be where I was and had it pretty good.

Then today I told a man I worked with that he was being sexist. He said to me — a calm, professional person listening to him with a neutral facial expression, a person prepared to collaborate — “I don’t want to stress you out.” He says this all the time, prefacing statements and requests with, “I don’t want to make you anxious” or “I don’t want you to get flustered.”

I said, “Please don’t get meta about my feelings in conversation with me. I was sitting here completely calm, but now you’ve made me angry. Angry. That’s different than stressed out. You’ve done this several times and I’ve never said anything. Now I’m telling you that it’s sexist and I don’t like it.”

He quickly said, “Ok, I didn’t realize that, and now I understand and I won’t do it anymore.” Forty-five minutes later, I happened to see his phone lying somewhere, and I took it into his office and handed it to him. He said to the other guy in the room, “See what good care she takes of me?” 

This man is younger than me and has been at the firm half as long.

As I was leaving for the day, my boss said to me, “You get an F in effective candor for this week.” 

When I got home a bit ago, I sat cross-legged in a sunny patch of dead grass outside my apartment complex, reading What Happened. I had tears streaming down my face from a particularly tender part where Hillary talks about her mother.

“Oh, I see you got Hillary’s book!” a man’s voice said. I looked up to see a 70-year old white man standing there looking down on me.

It felt like the whole thing could go any which way, but I decided to enter the conversation in good faith.

He said, “It looks like you’re about 40% of the way through–what do you think so far?”

The sun was blazing at me from over his shoulder and I had to crane my neck way up to see his face. There were still wet tears all over my face. It was awkward, but I was committed to giving my review of the book, and to just hope for the best. After all, we’d been chastised for hiding in secret Facebook groups.

I said, “On the one hand it’s like a big cutaway diagram of a presidential campaign, which is fascinating. On the other hand, it’s also a very human memoir — which I love.”

He said, “Yeah, I was a Hillary supporter in 2008 and 2016, but I just don’t know. I don’t know if we need to be re-hashing last year, and I’m not happy with how she ran the campaign.”

I said, “Well, I understand that. But the book is both broader than last year, and much more intimate than just the campaign. I think it’s ok if not everyone is ready for this book right now, but in five or ten years we’ll be glad it exists.”

He said, “I don’t know.”

I said, “Another thing is, I’m enjoying it because it has a lot of relatable insights for professional women.”

He said, “Maybe.”

I said, “No, not maybe. I’m telling you that the wisdom is in there and I am receiving it.”

So that’s the real-life exchange I had with a man who was a two-time Hillary supporter.

I still can’t believe he said “Maybe.” 

 

 

Questions for General H.R. McMaster, Nikki Haley and Sarah Huckabee Sanders today:

  • Thank you, General. My question is about North Korea, which is perhaps the biggest foreign policy challenge for President Trump right now. About a month ago, the President issued a threat to North Korea; he warned of “fire and fury.” And as you know, Ambassador, at the U.N. Security Council you’ve imposed tougher sanctions on North Korea. Both of these efforts do not seem to be changing their behavior. Is it time for the U.S. to change its approach to North Korea? Is that something that you’re contemplating? And, General, if you could weigh on this well. I appreciate it.
  • Ambassador Haley, a conference call preceded your briefing here. Jonathan Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said that next week’s UNGA will be as much the world taking measure of the United States as it is the U.S. speaking to the world. He went on to say that the UNGA, because of its very quick meetings, is sort of like speed dating from hell, and that it’s a very sophisticated dance that neither Secretary of State Tillerson or the President have a particularly strong point on. What would you say to people who are wondering how the U.S. will do at next week’s UNGA?
  • One of the big questions from some of the people outside of this room and other countries is, in addition to what we do militarily is the humanitarian effort. And we’ve been criticized for not being involved in the humanitarian effort too much, especially by the third world. So when you go to New York, in addition to addressing the security measures, how are you going to address the criticism about the U.S. not leading humanitarian efforts?
  •  I have a question first to General McMaster before I get to one on North Korea for you. General, you mentioned the, obviously, terror incident overseas in London. The President tweeted this morning that it was “sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard.” You may have seen Prime Minister may say it was “not helpful for people to speculate.” Did the President share information that he wasn’t supposed to? And if not, why was he speculating?
  • I’m sorry, I’m not clear. Meaning he was saying generally terrorists are a focus for Scotland Yard, or was he saying in this specific incident, Scotland Yard knew potentially this was coming?
  • And did that come up in the call with Prime Minister May?
  • Ambassador, to you, on North Korea. Obviously there’s more U.N. Security Council action that could be taken. Are you at all hopeful that there is any chance for a full oil embargo as this administration had wanted? Or at what point — President Trump himself said this was a small step, the last U.N. Security Council vote. I think disagreeing with you, but Secretary Tillerson agreed with him that it seemed to have been a small step. So at what point does this administration take a bigger step and, for example, put tougher sanctions on China in order to put pressure on North Korea?
  • Thank you, Ambassador. You said that Syria is going to be on the agenda. As you know, today Turkey, Russia, and Iran agreed to deploy 1,500 monitors in the Idlib province. Does that leave the U.S. behind? And what exactly the focus will be when you talk about Syria at the U.N. next week?
  • Ambassador, two quick questions. The first one is, the fact that president Putin and President Xi Jinping won’t be there, will it have an impact on the what the outcome of whatever you’ll discuss on Syria and North Korea?
  • And, General, you’ve been insisting a lot on the respect of sovereignty. Wouldn’t an investment in a peacekeeping mission be part of getting involved and having a stronger impact on this?
  • Are you disappointed that they’re not going to show up?
  • Thank you, Madam Ambassador, General. A question regarding etiquette. In the past, Presidents have copiously avoided certain world leaders. A decade ago, President Bush avoiding President Ahmadinejad when he was at the opening of the U.N. Will the President speak to President Maduro at all when he is there?
  • Thank you, Madam Ambassador. Two questions. One, what is the future of India and the United Nations membership and Security Council? Because when Prime Minister Modi visited the White House he brought up this issue with President Trump.
  • Do you have any indications right now that sanctions will work towards North Korea?
  • Thank you, Sarah. Appreciate it.  So I was wondering — we talked a little bit about the President, the speech that he’ll deliver on Tuesday. But I’m wondering if you could talk in any more detail now — and I’m sure we’ll get more detail later — will he be sending direct messages about Iran and North Korea in that speech? Are there any more specific themes?
  • And also, Ambassador Haley, I wanted to ask you: On the question of U.N. funding, I know reform is probably an important part of this question, but as a candidate, President Trump was — then-candidate Trump was somewhat skeptical about the reach and the import of the U.N., the point of it long term. As President I’m sure he’s learned more. Is the U.S. committed both to fulfilling its financial obligations? And where does it stand on terms of its voluntary funding for the U.N. going forward? Would you talk a little bit about that?
  • So it’s written, and you’ve seen it?
  • Will he firmly articulate his intention to continue traditional U.S. funding at full levels?
  • Sarah, a follow-up on something that Ambassador Haley said. She mentioned that she would feel comfortable kicking this issue to Secretary Mattis. Should Americans be concerned about the possibility of war? And how much time are you willing to give China to implement the resolutions in the U.N. Security Council agreement?
  • What will the President say to the leaders that he meets next week who are eager for talks with North Korea? I know that the President has opposed that. How will he address that with the Europeans and others who are in favor of it?
  • Thank you. The President today tweeted out that he wants to see ESPN apologize for what he called “untruths.” By him saying that, though, does that mean that he’s willing to apologize for birtherism claims that he had — that he called on for years?
  • But couldn’t you say the same thing about him not apologizing for birtherism
  •  — which is not true?
  • Do you still stand by your statement of the other day when you said that what Jemele Hill did was a fireable offense?
  • Back on the President’s response to the London attack, is the President aware that the British Prime Minister said that his speculation was not helpful? What was his reaction?
  • Did this come up in that conversation?
  • Sarah, the President this morning tweeted that chain migration could not be a part of any immigration bill. What did he mean by that?
  • This was a priority that he laid out, chain migration. This is referring to the idea that people given status in a bill could not then sponsor relatives later for immigration status. Has he drawn a red line on that?
  • Let me just clarify something. It was said several times yesterday, by the President on Air Force One and by one of your deputies, that he White House did not support an immigration bill that deals with amnesty — amnesty. How would you define amnesty? And does a path to citizenship for DREAMers or other undocumented people fall into that category?
  •  That could include a path to citizenship. The DACA is deferred deportation, as you know — the law means you can still be —
  • So you do support — so you don’t support the path to citizenship, is that what you’re saying?
  • Sarah, two very quick ones, because I know you’re tight on time. Number one, the President said today he wanted the travel ban to be “larger, tougher, and more specific.” As you know, arguments are set to start next month on the travel ban currently in place. Why is he fighting for it if it’s, in fact, too small, not tough enough, and too broad?
  • Can I quickly follow on the second part, Sarah, on your comments on ESPN? Did it give you any pause to make those comments about a private company from the podium here at the White House?
  • Thank you, Sarah. When a deal is ultimately reached, if there is one reached, on the issue of DACA, will it be a deal that’s reached between the President, as the top Republican; the President, along with Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader in the Senate and Democrats; or will it be just the President alone?
  • Thank you, Sarah. A quick — a question, but a quick clarification on the ESPN matter. You had said it was a fireable offense. That’s being interpreted as saying that she should be fired. Are you or the President saying that she should be fired?
  • But how is that not advice to a private company?
  • I guess I’m just trying to clarify that. And I know you have and I appreciate that, but you said it was an individual not a private company.
  • But we’d like an answer to that.
  • You haven’t answered it. Could you?
  • All the other people want an answer.
  • Can we do a schedule before the end? That’s all I wanted to ask.
  • I don’t want to take Margaret’s question away. I’ll call on that clarification, Sarah, because you said you don’t have advice for a private company, yet you’re giving advice to ESPN.
  • For scheduling purposes, the U.N. stuff starts Monday, and that briefing is over, but can you walk us through the President’s schedule? Is there anything we should listen for in the speech this afternoon? Can you talk about whether he’s doing anything kind of policy-related or meeting with anyone interesting in Bedminster over the weekend? Is there anything else that they didn’t go over on the schedule for next week about UNGA involving the First Lady or anyone else in the administration? Just to get our heads around the next week.

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