During the nine months since Donald Trump announced his intention to run for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, his campaign has been forced to address controversial remarks he’s made on a variety of subjects.
Besides enraging Mexicans and Muslims with comments on subjects related to immigration and terrorism, another demographic that Trump has upset multiple times has been women, who will make up just over half of the electorate during the general election.
The most recent example of Trump angering women came on March 30 during the taping of a discussion with Chris Matthews of MSNBC in Wisconsin. Matthews asked Trump a series of questions about his anti-abortion stance, including whether women should be punished if the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling was ever reversed, making abortion again illegal.
Trump indicated that women should be punished for it in under such circumstances, with a later determination indicating what type of penalty should be incurred. He also indicated that under such a ban that women who sought an abortion would have to resort to pre-1973 conditions that have long been attacked as being dangerous and unsafe for the health of the woman.
In order for such change to take place, Trump indicated that future selections to the Supreme Court would require enough conservative justices to be appointed to overturn it. Trump noted that the February 13 death of Justice Antonin Scalia means the election in November will help determine the future course of any changes.
The comments resulted in a firestorm of protest from both sides of the political aisle, with Trump’s chief opponent for the Republican nomination, Ted Cruz, saying that women should not be punished. Pro-life organizations also criticized Trump, noting that punishment of women who have had an abortion was not their goal.
Cruz had previously noted that Trump hasn’t been consistent with his anti-abortion beliefs. Evidence of that was shown in a Cruz campaign commercial when a 1999 appearance on Meet the Press by Trump showed him saying that he hated the concept of abortion but that he was pro-choice.
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton blasted Trump’s comments as dangerous and horrific, while the president of Planned Parenthood offered similar remarks.
Trump’s comments about women in general became part of the 2016 campaign last August 6, during the first Republican debate in Cleveland. The first question he was asked that night was by Megyn Kelly of Fox News, who asked him about previous remarks in which Trump had called women he had disagreed with, “fat pigs” and “dogs.”
In the days and weeks after that debate, Trump attacked Kelly by crudely saying that her question was related to her menstrual cycle. He then skipped a January 28 debate in Iowa due to Kelly’s presence on the panel.
At the time of Trump’s abortion comments, he was dealing with another issue that dealt with the treatment of a female reporter by his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. The reporter, Michelle Fields, was working for the conservative website Breitbart.com at the time, when she alleged that Lewandowski grabbed her arm and yanked her back while she was attempting to ask Trump a question.
After Breitbart failed to back her side of the story, Fields resigned. In addition, citing bruises from the conflict, Fields filed a complaint against Lewandowski, which resulted in a charge of simple battery against him.
During this process, Trump refused to dismiss Lewandowski or apologize to Fields. He also made an effort to claim that the incident never took place until video was uncovered confirming Fields’ side.