Kellyanne Conway: If women, men had equal strength, ‘rape would not exist’

Updated 6:13 AM EDT, Wed August 31, 2016
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Story highlights

The remarks were resurfaced by an anti-Trump super PAC

The panel of women had been discussing women in the military and gender equality in combat

(CNN) —  

Donald Trump’s new campaign manager said “rape would not exist” if women and men had equal physical capabilities in a television appearance that has been resurfaced by critics who say Trump has a problem with women.

READ: Trump’s women problem

Kellyanne Conway, who was installed as Trump’s campaign manager earlier this month, made the remarks during a panel discussion on PBS’ “To the Contrary” in January 2013.

“If we were physiologically – not mentally, emotionally, professionally – equal to men, if we were physiologically as strong as men, rape would not exist,” Conway said. “You would be able to defend yourself and fight him off.”

READ: Ivanka Trump, a champion for women?

The panel of women had been discussing women in the military and gender equality in combat. Conway brought up the analogy unprompted, using it as part of a statement about women’s physical capabilities in relation to men’s.

READ: Poll: Clinton holds lead in Pennsylvania

Later in the show, she went on to discuss the use of sexual assault as a weapon of war as a downside of women on the front lines.

Conway did not respond to a CNN request for clarification.

The remarks were resurfaced by an anti-Trump super PAC, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, who called the comments evidence that the Trump campaign doesn’t understand “acceptable political views.”

“We cannot have a reality show in the White House; the stakes are just too high, especially for women,” said National Finance Director Francesca Lucia.

The group also quoted “The Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead, who founded Lady Parts Justice and Artists Against Trump, in slamming the comments.

“Most people who think like Donald Trump would only express their views in private, because they’re shameful. But not Kellyanne Conway. Not Eric Trump, when he said that Ivanka wouldn’t allow herself to be subject to sexual harassment. And certainly not Donald Trump himself,” Winstead said. “They seem to think it’s acceptable to blame rape victims for their assaults, deny women the right to control their own health care, and downplay sexual harassment in the workplace. It’s not.”

Planned Parenthood’s political arm also condemned the remarks.

“Conway fits a dangerous Trump campaign pattern of not understanding or caring about the struggles, discrimination, and even sexual violence that women face every day in this country,” the group said in a statement Tuesday.

CNN’s Jim Acosta contributed to this report.