OPINION

Bankole: Trump’s albatross is women

Bankole Thompson
The Detroit News

Donald Trump, the bombastic and likely Republican nominee for president, has an uphill task convincing women that he respects them and has their best interests beyond the unflattering and sometimes crude comments he’s made in the past.

For example in an oft-cited 1991 interview with Esquire magazine, Trump said, “You know, it doesn’t really matter what the media writes as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”

In 2005, Trump told popular radio host Howard Stern that he will leave the business of raising children to his then-current wife Melania Trump.

“I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them. I will supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids. It’s not like I’m gonna be walking the kids down Central Park,” Trump said.

On the subject of sexual assault of women in the military which has been the focus of congressional hearings in the past, Trump in 2013 took to Twitter and said: “What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

Trump did not even spare his fellow and former Republican primary contender Carly Fiorina.

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

Perhaps Trump’s most vile comment to date about women was in reference to Fox News host Megyn Kelly after a Fox debate during which she peppered him with questions about calling women names.

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. There was blood coming out of her wherever,” Trump said about Kelly during a CNN interview after the debate.

These sexist and well-documented comments by Trump are surely coming to haunt him as he seeks the Republican nomination for president. What is also noteworthy is an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll last month that showed 47 percent of women in the Republican Party would not support Trump if he becomes the nominee.

A CNN/ORC poll of registered women voters released last month also found that 73 percent have an unfavorable view of Trump.

Trump perhaps knows he has a serious gender problem in an election where women make up the majority of voters, and he wasted no time after winning five states in last week’s primaries, to attack the gender of his likely opponent in the general election.

“The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card,” Trump said about Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, after suggesting that if the former Secretary of State was a man she wouldn’t get 5 percent of the vote.

Jill Alper, a southeast Michigan Democratic activist who hosted Clinton last July at her Grosse Pointe residence for a fundraiser, said Trump has something to worry about.

“While not taking anything for granted, it will be hard for Trump to win women over. Secretary Clinton quoted Maya Angelou in a campaign ad last week saying, ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them.’ And for decades, Donald Trump has demonstrated abhorrent behavior toward women. For example, he’s called women ‘fat pigs’ and slobs, called another ‘disgusting’ for requesting a break to pump breast milk during a legal deposition,” Alper said.

“Hillary Clinton can take his attacks. But there are millions of women out there who don’t get the credit they deserve, whose work doesn’t get respected, and that’s a big part of why they don’t get paid equally and struggle to get ahead. If he continues to go at this the way he is, there won’t be a gender gap, there’ll be a gender gulf.”

Tracy Hall, a former moderate Republican, is also concerned about Trump.

“I find his statements highly offensive toward women, minorities and immigrants. I think anybody who makes statements that are demeaning to others is not someone I want to see in office,” Hall said. “I don’t feel comfortable with him. He is more interested in shock value whipping up crowds with offensive remarks.”

Anne Mervenne, a member of Republican presidential candidate John Kasich’s Michigan leadership team, said Trump will implode in November.

“I am appalled by his objectification of women and he will be a disaster in November,” Mervenne said. “I think he is a disaster for our country and our party. All you can do is educate people between now and November.”

If Trump gets the required number of delegates and officially accepts the GOP nomination at the party’s national convention in July in Cleveland, Mervenne said it will send a wrong signal to the world.

“I think it will send a negative signal at a time when American leadership is needed more than ever in the world,” Mervenne said.

bankole@bankolethompson.com

Bankole Thompson is the host of “Redline with Bankole Thompson,” on Super Station 910AM at noon Friday. His column appears Monday and Thursday.