Trump’s women problem

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Trump's enigmatic relationship with women is under scrutiny

A CNN/ORC poll in March found 73% of registered women voters view Trump unfavorably

CNN  — 

The thing about women, Donald J. Trump once wrote, is that they “have one of the great acts of all time.”

“The smart ones act very feminine and needy, but inside they are real killers,” he continued. “The person who came up with the expression ‘the weaker sex’ was either very naïve or had to be kidding. I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye – or perhaps another body part.”

The provocative passage, along with several others, is contained in a chapter devoted to women in Trump’s 1997 book, “The Art of the Comeback.”

Donald Trump complains ‘media is so after me’ over women

Clinton’s ‘woman’s card’

His words on women have newfound relevance in 2016 as Trump’s enigmatic relationship with the opposite sex is front and center in his campaign for President.

As he has assumed the mantle of presumptive Republican nominee, he has opened a new gender-focused line of attack against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

He has skewered Clinton for playing the “woman’s card” and attacked her as an “enabler” for her husband’s marital infidelities.

The comments play on potential vulnerabilities for his likely general election opponent – but they also highlight Trump’s own significant hurdles with female voters as he tries to win their votes in November.

Trump recently weighed in on Bill Clinton’s past infidelities during a campaign appearance, charging that “nobody in this country – and maybe in the history of this country politically – was worse than Bill Clinton with women.”

He went on to connect Clinton with her husband’s marital indiscretions.

“He was a disaster,” Trump said at a campaign event last Friday, “and she’s been the total enabler. She would go after these women and destroy their lives.”

Trump did not present any evidence for his argument, but during a telephone interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo Monday on “New Day,” he stood by it.

In a testy exchange, he told Cuomo he raised the issue as retribution for Clinton “playing the woman’s card to the hilt” in the campaign.

Trump raised that notion last week during his victory speech in New York, suggesting her appeal to female voters, based solely on gender, was her only asset.

“She’s got nothing else going on,” he said.

Clinton brushed off Trump’s attacks during a campaign appearance in Stone Ridge, Virginia, on Monday: “I’m going to let him run his campaign however he chooses,” she said.

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Trump’s crude banter

The intense scrutiny of the campaign has also renewed interest in Trump’s crude banter about his sexual conquests and desires on Howard Stern’s radio show.

Many of those exchanges were published in February by BuzzFeed, and Trump told The Washington Post in a recent interview that he would not have said some of those things if he had known that he would one day run for office.

His controversial remarks then and during the 2016 campaign have taken a toll on his image among female voters.

A CNN/ORC poll in March found that 73% of registered women voters viewed Trump unfavorably. The trend line for Trump has gone downward in that regard since December, when 59% of registered women voters had a negative view of him.
What women voters think of Donald Trump

The women standing by him

But for all the women who have voiced their collective disapproval in polling numbers, those closest to the billionaire businessman insist he’s a model husband and father – supportive, nurturing, and empowering.