Trump Wants to Win the Female Vote. Can He?

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

There’s a new candidate looking to emerge as the “pro-woman” option for president, and this time it’s not a woman.

After Megyn Kelly called out his demeaning comments about women during the first presidential debate, Donald Trump is working hard to make a 180-degree change in his media image from the most anti-woman candidate to the most pro-woman.

Yet even if his shaky new brand gets him through the Republican primary, could it hold up against Hillary Clinton with a very different mix of voters?

On Monday, Fox News’ Sean Hannity brought up Trump’s recent appearance at a conference put on by the bipartisan group No Labels—specifically his interaction with a woman in the audience who announced she didn’t think he was a “friend to women.”

When she asked whether he would support women’s pay equity and abortion rights, Trump—to his credit—separated the two issues, responding that “you’re going to make the same if you do as good a job” but also that he is pro-life.

In his interview with Hannity, Trump repeated his typical response to questions on women: “nobody respects women more than I do,” and “I cherish women.” This time he added, “I will do more for women than anybody else, because of the way I feel.”

“Anybody else” happens to include Clinton who, he told Hannity, doesn’t have “the steam to get in there and do what she has to do…” Unfortunately, he neglected to include an explanation of what needs to be done. To shed some light on the matter, though, Trump moved on to Bush’s and Rubio’s comments on women’s health issues:

They don’t have what it takes to help — this is a very serious problem, and women really — you know, remember last week a couple of weeks ago with Jeb Bush on women’s health issues. He said he’s not going to fund them. I said, why aren’t you going to fund them? Ultimately, he recanted and he took it back, but when you make that statement, that’s a bad statement, and Rubio feels the same way, so many others. I will be the best thing that could happen to women.

At this point we should have more than a few questions for Trump, including whether he will take the hard approach needed to defund Planned Parenthood, or whether he will sacrifice that action for the sake of funding “women’s health issues.”

And if he were to face Hillary Clinton in the general election, a candidate who many have said they will vote for simply because she is a woman, is Trump’s new pro-woman front enough to make even Democrats forget his past comments about women?

Anna Pfaff works for American Principles in Action.