Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump doubled down on his assertion that Hillary Clinton’s gender has provided her with an unfair advantage during the 2016 campaign on Wednesday.
Following his clean sweep of the GOP primaries on Tuesday, Trump unleashed a pointed personal attack on the Democratic front-runner, claiming the “only card she has is the woman’s card” and that “if Hillary Clinton were a man I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote.”
The remarks sharpen the real estate mogul’s attacks on the Democratic front-runner, which thus far have included a parody of her demeanor on the stump, claims that she does not have the “stamina” to be president, and the repetition of an aggressive line from her primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, that she is “not qualified“ for the job.
When confronted about the sexist nature of his remarks during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday, Trump did not back down. Instead, he used an increasingly common line of attack on Clinton delivered mostly by her male critics — that she shouts too much.
“I haven’t quite recovered, it’s early in the morning, from her shouting that message,” Trump said. “And I know a lot of people would say you can’t say that about a woman because of course a woman doesn’t shout. But the way she shouted that message was not … that’s the way she said it and I guess I’ll have to get used to that over the next four or five months.”Despite polls consistently showing Trump with historically poor approval ratings among women voters (69 percent unfavorable to 20 percent favorable) , he predicted “we’re going to do very well with Hillary and with women as soon as we start our process against her.” He also suggested that it’s unclear whether Clinton will become the Democratic nominee because of her email server scandal.
“She’s guilty. Everybody knows she’d guilty but they don’t want to go after her,” Trump added, without detailing what crime Clinton has allegedly committed. “It’s going to be an interesting thing … because people who have done far less are sitting in jail cells.”
Trump’s harsh tone on Clinton is nothing new. He has claimed in the past that she shouldn’t be “allowed” to run and has already brought up her husband’s past infidelities in campaign ads, one of which linked the former first lady to embattled comedian Bill Cosby, who has been accused by several dozen women of sexual assault, allegations which he denies.
The tone of Trump’s rhetoric has also started to permeate some of paraphernalia surrounding his campaign. Trumps supporters are already hawking “Hillary for Prison 2016” T-shirts and bumper stickers that read: “Trump the B**ch.”
For her part, Clinton, who enjoyed another round of big victories on Tuesday night, struck back at Trump, arguing before a crowd of supporters that if advocating for paid family leave, women’s healthcare and equal pay amounts to playing the “woman’s card,” then “deal me in.” Her campaign also incorporated his sexist remarks in a fundraising email sent Wednesday afternoon, noting the “volatile atmosphere” of the race.
It’s unlikely that attacking Clinton for deriving a competitive advantage by being a woman will improve Trump’s precarious position with that voting demographic. According to the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted April 10 through 14, 58 percent of all women surveyed said they have a “very negative” view of Trump. In a hypothetical head-to-head match up against Trump, 46 percent of men said they’d support Trump, while 43 percent said they’d back Clinton. In comparison, 33 percent of women said they’d support Trump, while 56 percent said they would back Clinton.