Donald Trump’s daughters and wife fiercely defended him Tuesday against charges of sexism and misogyny that have dogged his presidential campaign and cost him dearly in support from women voters.
His daughter, Ivanka Trump, lauded the real estate mogul for helping women break through the “glass ceiling” in a male-dominated business world.
“His actions speak louder than the words of many politicians who talk about gender equality,” she said when asked by an audience member at a CNN town hall about her father’s portrayal in the media as abusive toward women.
“I have witnessed these incredible female role models that he has employed in the highest executive positions at the Trump Organization my entire life in an industry that has been dominated by men, is still dominated by men, but certainly was when he was starting out in his career, and he was employing some of these women and raising them through the ranks,” she said.
Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, said that his aggressive stance toward female foes showed that he treats women as equals.
“He treats everyone equally. So if you’re a woman and attack him, he will attack back, no matter who you are,” she said. “We’re all human, and he treats them equal as men.”
She said he also “encourages everybody, if you’re a man or a woman.”
Mr. Trump has been hammered for his abusive language directed toward women, such as calling comedian and actress Rosie O’Donnell a “fat pig” and feuding with Fox News host Megyn Kelly.
His reputation for spewing insults and disparaging women has led to high unfavorable ratings from female voters, which could be a major liability in a general election contest against Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Ivanka Trump, who is a successful businesswoman in her own right, said the way her father raised her and her sister, Tiffany, also demonstrated his respect for women.
“It’s a testament to the fact that he believes in inspiring women, empowering women. He always taught me that there wasn’t anything that I couldn’t do if I set my mind to it, if I had deep passion, if I really unearthed what it is that I wanted to do with my life and then worked very hard to achieve it,” she said. “And I don’t think that’s the message a father would relay to a daughter who he didn’t believe had the potential to accomplish exactly what her brothers could.”
Tiffany Trump echoed that sentiment.
“I think my father, since I’ve been a little girl, has always just inspired me and had so much faith in me to just be the best person I can be, the best woman I can be,” she said.