Government & Politics

Does Donald Trump have a problem with women?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to supporters Manchester, New Hampshire with his wife, Melania Trump (left), and daughter, Ivanka Trump, by his side.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to supporters Manchester, New Hampshire with his wife, Melania Trump (left), and daughter, Ivanka Trump, by his side. David Goldman

Back in November 1992, in a cover story about the brash, hard-charging businessman, New York magazine quoted Donald Trump explaining to a friend how he operates around women.

Said Trump: “You have to treat ’em like s**t.”

Some would say he is a man of his word.

New York Times columnist Gail Gollins once referred to Trump in print as a “financially embattled thousandaire.” He sent her a copy of the column with her picture circled and “The Face of a Dog!” written over it, she has said.

Three years ago he tweeted about “Sex and the City” icon Sarah Jessica Parker: “Sarah Jessica Parker voted ‘unsexiest woman alive’ – I agree. She said ‘it’s beneath me to comment on the potential Obama charitable gift.’ What’s really beneath her?”

For years Trump has batted away accusations of sexism and misogyny like they were merely pesky gnats buzzing his head. But it’s different now that he wants to be president of the United States.

Now its more widely known that he calls women “bimbo,” “dog,” “fat pig” and “piece of a**.”

Could it hurt his chances of getting elected?

According to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll, half of the women in the United States have a “very unfavorable” view of Trump. That’s up from 40 percent who felt that way about him in October.

The red flag here for Trump: Women have been voting at higher rates than men in recent elections.

Some women polled said they don’t like the way Trump “belittles” women. Trump has called talk like that kidding, having a good time. And frankly, he tells people who challenge him on it, he doesn’t have time to be “politically correct.”

Fox News anchorwoman Megyn Kelly brought up the way he talks about women at a Republican debate last year and drew the ongoing wrath of Trump for doing so. The exchange gave birth to Trump’s now infamous slam against Kelly: “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her ... wherever.”

Trump has since kept Kelly in his Twitter crosshairs. Last week Trump went on a rant attacking her, sending out so many tweets that Fox News issued a statement denouncing Trump’s behavior.

“Donald Trump’s vitriolic attacks against Megyn Kelly and his extreme, sick obsession with her is beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate who wants to occupy the highest office in the land,” Fox said in a statement.

Kelly is not Trump’s only female target. Last week he signaled that he is more than willing to stay true to those ways during a general election when he posted to Instagram an attack video portraying Hillary Clinton as a barking dog.

It came two days after a Republican-led, anti-Trump group launched an ad on YouTube in which a parade of women read aloud Trump’s words against women.

Trump dismissed the video, telling “Good Morning America” that it was “a Romney deal. It’s just a lot of sour grapes.”

Trump’s female surrogates making the rounds of cable TV dismissed it, too, one saying on CNN that people today get too “freaked out” over words. Besides, she said, those quotes were from 20 years ago and Donald Trump is a changed man today.

Nope. Let’s go to the tape.

During an interview with a Rolling Stone reporter last year, Trump said of fellow presidential candidate Carly Fiorina: “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”

Last month Buzzfeed News listened to hours of on-air conversations between Trump and radio host Howard Stern from the late 90’s through the 2000s.

It found more than 20 instances of crude comments Trump had made about women.

Once, he rated the cast of “Desperate Housewives” and said of actress Nicole Sheridan, “a person who is very flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.”

In 2005 he told Stern that he would be interested in having more children. “I like kids,” he said. “I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them. I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids.”

And about those other derogatory things he’s said about women ...

“Bimbo”

Last year he tweeted about Kelly: “I refuse to call Megyn Kelly a bimbo, because that would not be politically correct. Instead I will only call her a lightweight reporter.”

Then he retweeted this tweet about her.

“Disgusting”

Trump had what was described as an “absolute meltdown” when lawyer Elizabeth Beck asked to take a break from a 2011 deposition to pump breast milk.

“He got up, his face got red, he shook his finger at me and he screamed, 'You're disgusting, you're disgusting,' and he ran out of there,” Beck told CNN last year.

Trump’s attorney told CNN that Trump’s language “was in no way a statement about her decision to breast-feed or pump. It was solely that she was appearing to do it in the middle of a deposition.”

“Dog”

He used it last year in a tweet about Arianna Huffington, founder of the left-leaning and avowed Trump critic The Huffington Post.

“Unattractive”

That’s how he described Bette Midler in an October 2012 tweet: “While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.”

“Fat, ugly face”

In 2006, in an epic two-minute rant about his arch-nemesis Rosie O’Donnell, he hurled insult after insult at the former co-host of “The View.” He called her “disgusting,” a “slob” and “unattractive.”

Last summer MSNBC wondered why so many Republican women supported Trump given his questionable treatment of women.

“I like that he’s not politically correct. I have no problem with a man being a man. I like him because he’s real,” said one 48-year-old supporter from Ohio. “He’s saying it like it is. If you want to be treated like a lady, act like a lady.”

“Everyone needs to take their offended hats off and needs to worry about what’s happening in this country,” like the economy and national security, said another female fan from Georgia.

Jennifer Lawless, director of American University’s Women & Politics Institute, told MSNBC she understood why conservative women give Trump a pass.

After all, she said, “the records of other Republican candidates are just as half-full on women’s interests.”

Lawless also pointed to Trump’s soaring rhetoric on women, vague declarations like “I cherish women” and “I would be the best for women.” that might “mitigate concerns people may have.”

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