INGRID JACQUES

Jacques: Meet the GOP women against Trump

Ingrid Jacques
The Detroit News

Katie Packer wants you to know that Donald Trump is a racist, a sexist, a bully and a con man. And she definitely doesn’t want you to make him the Republican nominee for president.

Donald Trump is in the crosshairs of Republican determined to stop him from winning the party’s nomination.

The political strategist and Michigan native started Our Principles PAC in January with the sole intent of strangling Trump’s rise and educating voters about the GOP front-runner’s flaws. The political action committee has spent millions so far running TV ads and getting the anti-Trump message out. Packer is one of several Republican women spearheading efforts to stop Trump.

“I’ve said for a long time that front-runners don’t fall — people trip them,” says Packer, who served as Mitt Romney’s deputy presidential campaign manager in 2012.

She wants to trip Trump. Time is of the essence as more states hold primaries and caucuses. Trump still leads the field, but Packer believes it’s not too late to halt his momentum.

“Of course there’s time,” Packer says. “But that doesn’t mean there is time to waste.”

The New York billionaire and reality TV star has captured the support of many Republicans because they see him as a straight talker. But all that talk is just a facade, Packer says. Trump’s record as a businessman and conservative is vastly different from his rhetoric. And she’s using her PAC to dismantle his resume.

“People didn’t know that much about Donald Trump, so people presume things,” she says.

In Tuesday’s Michigan primary, polls give Trump a 10-point lead. A Detroit News/WDIV-TV statewide poll released last month found he is a favorite of men without a college education. Yet Trump also ranked the most unfavorable candidate in Michigan—largely thanks to aversion among Republican women.

A recent PAC ad from Packer takes on the now-defunct Trump University, which is the costly real estate seminar program that led some disgruntled students to sue Trump for scamming them.

“We are taking our message nationally, and people have joined the battle,” she says. Other super PACs are engaging.

One of those PACs is Make America Awesome, founded by Liz Mair, a Republican political consultant and communications expert. She formed the group last year and, like Packer, is spreading the message about Trump.

“The guy (Trump) is a straight up big government liberal who just happens to not like Mexicans or other non-white people very much,” Mair observes. “He’s banking on winning despite this by positioning himself as the champion of average working people when in fact, he’s been screwing over people just like them and making bank off of it for years.”

Mair points to Trump’s left-of-center positions on health care, entitlement reform and free trade — and his “record-breaking number of business bankruptcies.”

“I am not especially bothered at this point by who the GOP nominates, so long as it’s not him,” Mair says.

Both women agree that if Trump wins the nomination, he would fail to draw wide GOP support, a huge boon to Democrats. That’s why these PACs are working to expose Trump now.

“The Dems won’t be so shy,” Packer says.

ijacques@detroitnews.com