For months, the Donald Trump presidential campaign has been plagued with reports of his misogynistic behavior that has ranged from insinuation that Megyn Kelly hardball questions were little more than PMS-induced rage, to questionable comments on his daughter's appearance. But now, weeks before the presidential election, the Trump campaign has decided to try to flip the script and court the female vote with a "Trump-Pence Women's Empowerment Tour."
According to Politico, the tour is being led by a coalition of women that include Lara Trump, Donald Trump's daughter-in-law, Trump's highly controversial spokesperson Katrina Pearson, Lynne Patton, lively YouTube personalities Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, and the campaign's "Director of African American Outreach" Omarosa Manigault.
It's unclear exactly how the tour intends to empower women. Its primary purpose seems to be convincing women Trump has their best interest at heart or, as Lara Trump said at the tour's kickoff event, "to go out and tell people what a great guy Donald Trump is." According to the limited social media fanfare from the hosts, the tour has so far involved talking to a small group of Trump supporters at a Hilton Hotel in Ohio, taking Snapchat selfies, hanging out with Eric Trump, eating ice cream, and cheerleading.
The Trump campaign has emphasized its decision to include five women of color in the tour, but many remain skeptical that this new tactic will do much to convince voters that Trump's team genuinely cares about the rights and well-being of women and minorities.
Rebecca Chalif, director of women's media at Hillary for America, tells Broadly, "No tour or slogan will change the fact that the Trump-Pence ticket is dangerous for women. They have made it perfectly clear that on issues from equal pay to paid family leave to access to reproductive health care — not to mention their long record of demeaning and insulting comments about women. The Trump-Pence team would roll back the clock of women's rights and equality." She also forwarded to us the Clinton campaigns' reaction to Trump's new controversial childcare plan.
"After spending his entire career — and this entire campaign — demeaning women and dismissing the need to support working families," the statement said, "Donald Trump released a regressive and insufficient 'maternity leave' policy that is out-of-touch, half-baked and ignores the way Americans live and work today. Instead of asking those at the top to pay their fair share, he's robbing Peter to pay Paul by raiding unemployment insurance funds, and giving the most to the wealthy while providing far less relief to middle-class and working families."
"The lack of seriousness of this proposal is no surprise given his history of disrespecting women in the workplace and the fact there's no evidence he ever provided paid family leave or childcare to his own employees."
Meanwhile, Gloria Mattera, deputy campaign manager of the Jill Stein presidential campaign tells Broadly, "The Trump-Pence Women's Empowerment Tour is yet another bit of fluff from the Trump-Pence campaign that is not going to fool, much less woo, women voters. A candidate who has been insulting female journalists and making hateful comments about immigrants is not going suddenly become the feminist choice because celebrities and socialites ride around in an SUV giving speeches. The Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka campaign offers a program for 99 percent of women in this country whose lives will be improved by single payer health care, a living wage job, affordable, quality child care, no student debt and a fossil-fuel free environment. That is how women are empowered."
The only empowerment Trump cares about is his own.
Meanwhile, Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women - New York tells Broadly, "The only empowerment Trump cares about is his own. How are women suppose to take a presidential candidate who has been accused of rape and harassment multiple times seriously as someone who would have women's best interest? 'Women should be punished for having an abortion' and 'rape in the military is just a reality as long as women are there.' Most women voters will see through it, and we're going to make sure that they do."