Rosie, Megyn, Alicia, Hillary: Trump's women problem grows

2016-10-05 11:26
Republican nominee during the first presidential debate.  (David Goldman, AP)

Republican nominee during the first presidential debate. (David Goldman, AP)

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WATCH: Clinton slams Trump for his comments on women

2016-09-27 09:32

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump bickered and traded insults in a fiery US presidential debate on Monday, as they aggressively pitched their case to tens of millions of American voters.WATCH

Washington - Insults, personal attacks on Twitter, tirades on television: Donald Trump's behaviour toward women, including presidential rival Hillary Clinton, has become a liability that could cost him the election.

The Republican candidate has said, "I cherish women. I want to help women."

But his record shows otherwise. He landed in hot water most recently for deriding Venezuelan former Miss Universe Alicia Machado as "Miss Piggy" after she gained weight.

But that is only the latest in a cornucopia of insults directed at female journalists, comedians and politicians, whose physiques, sex lives, competence and physical health have been targets of Trump's gibes.

In a first for a White House candidate, the 70-year-old Trump took to Twitter at 05:00 to attack Machado, goading followers to check out her past and a supposed "sex tape".

He's also the first to mockingly mimic his rival during a rally, imitating Clinton's stumble as she fell ill at a September 11 memorial.

"Here's a woman, she's supposed to fight all of these different things, and she can't make it 15 feet to her car. Give me a break," said Trump, who for months has taunted Clinton as "Crooked Hillary".

During the first presidential debate, a forum voters generally turn to for substance and nuance, Trump attacked comedian Rosie O'Donnell (the two have criticised each other for years).

"I said very tough things to her and I think everybody would agree she deserves it and nobody feels sorry for her," Trump said.

Trump feuded for months with Fox News journalist Megyn 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!") although the two made amends in May.

He tweeted that Mika Brzezinski, a co-host on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" political show, was the "very insecure long-time girlfriend" of its other host, Joe Scarborough. The two are not in a relationship.

Then there was Trump's Republican opponent Carly Fiorina, who competed against him in the primaries.

"Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?" Trump said of Fiorina, who eventually dropped out of the race.

An Associated Press investigation found that Trump's crass behaviour extended to "The Apprentice," the reality TV show that made him a media star. More than 20 crew members, editors and contestants recalled him making lewd or sexually suggestive remarks about women on the hit show, according to AP.

Trump's camp has denounced the accusations as "outlandish, unsubstantiated, and totally false".

'Precarious position'

In poll after poll, American women, who represent around 52% of voters, have indicated that Trump's comments are not appreciated.

Around 55% say they will vote for Clinton and 36% for Trump. And following Trump's Machado comments, 55% of women said they had a lower opinion of Trump, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll.

"It really does put him in a precarious position with women, the largest voting bloc in the country," said Jeanne Zaino, a political science professor at Iona College.

"Republicans have been very sensitive to the fact that they have been losing women for many elections," she said, adding that after Republican Mitt Romney's loss in 2012, the party talked about how to win more women voters.

Trump's campaign has reached out to female voters, promising paid maternity leave for women and putting out a slick commercial featuring his daughter Ivanka speaking on the theme of family.

But the candidate seems bent on the opposite.

"They are working so hard to capture the female vote and he is making these statements about a beauty queen many decades ago," Zaino said.

With five weeks to go before the November 8 election, she asks whether Trump is "going to be able to convince that he has the temperament to be president?"

"It's becoming increasingly tough."

Read more on:    donald  |  trump  |  us  |  us elections 2016

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