Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, had a remarkably simple explanation as to how his boss will win women's votes in November: They’re so worried about their husbands’ income, they’ll pick the GOP.
Manafort was speaking to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews ahead of Trump’s closing address to the Republican National Convention. The host asked how Trump hoped to appeal to a female voter base when he’s perpetually criticizing his opponent Hillary Clinton’s gender.
The exchange that followed was straight out of the 1950s, with Manafort saying women were consumed by not being able to “afford their lives.”
Matthews: How do you deal with the problem that a lot of women I know and work with, whenever a man ― you’re a man, or Trump who’s a man ― criticizes Hillary Clinton they hear "male criticizing woman," how do you avoid that? That’s real.
Manafort: It depends on which women you’re talking about ... Women in this country feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to pay for the family bills. Hillary Clinton is guilty of being a part of the establishment that created that problem. They’re going to hear the message and as they hear the message that’s how we’re going to appeal to them.
Matthews: You know what you just said? You said women are concerned about their husband’s income.
Manafort: I can speak personally to that.
Matthews, a bit aghast, asked if that was an accurate representation of “the 21st century talking,” before his guest reiterated the point.
Despite Manafort’s assurances that the Trump campaign will appeal to women voters, the polls say otherwise. Several surveys have shown the candidate has about a 70 percent disapproval rating among the demographic, and recent numbers show a majority of women voters rate Trump “very unfavorably.”
Those numbers appear to reflect a barrage of sexist behavior the GOP presidential nominee has become known for, including calling women “fat pigs,” “dogs” and “disgusting animals.”
Clinton, on the other hand, is doing quite well. Some predict the final gender gap in November could be the largest in more than 60 years, a fact Matthews didn’t fail to note.
“You gotta sharpen up this appeal a little bit,” he said.