- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CLEVELAND — Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is convinced he will get a much-needed bump in support from female voters coming out of this week’s Republican National Convention, where a series of successful and powerful women are taking the stage to extol his virtues.

Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, a business titan in her own right, will introduce her father for his speech accepting the Republican nomination Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena, and she will hammer home the message that the New York billionaire cares deeply about women and will do more to help them than likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Trump campaign senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said that showcasing women at the convention will go a long way toward closing the gap in support from female voters.

“Seeing is believing,” Mrs. Conway said as she prepared to run through the staging of speakers at the arena Wednesday.

Mrs. Conway said the aspirational message about how Mr. Trump champions and empowers women also will contrast sharply with the tone she expects from the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

“It’s all in the message,” she said. “It’s gong to be a very negative convention next week in Philadelphia.”

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The speakers included LPGA golfer Natalie Gulbis, who praised Mr. Trump for his support of her career, and soap opera star and entrepreneur Kimberlin Ann Brown, who said the real estate tycoon would be best for small-business women.
Still, Mr. Trump’s poor standing with female voters is striking.

Among women, Mrs. Clinton bested Mr. Trump 52 percent to 36 percent in a recent CNN/ORC International poll.

Mr. Trump was favored over the former secretary of state among men, 45 percent to 43 percent, but he still lost in the overall contest by 8 percentage points, 48 percent to 40 percent.

What’s more, 62 percent of female voters said they had an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Trump, compared with 50 percent who said that about Mrs. Clinton.

Mrs. Clinton had a similar deficit with men, with 61 percent saying they had an unfavorable opinion of her.

Democratic strategist Brad Bannon said the Trump campaign was making all the right moves at the convention to reach out to female voters, but he wondered whether the candidate would be able to capitalize on any gains this week.

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“Like a lot of things with the Trump campaign, it boils down to discipline,” he said. “He can trot out all these women tonight, but if he goes out next week and insults women, then what he does tonight is totally wasted.”

Mrs. Clinton and her allies have been assailing Mr. Trump for some of his rough language directed at women, such as calling actress Rosie O’Donnell a “fat pig” and calling Fox News host Megyn Kelly a “bimbo.”

Mr. Trump’s insults for women have been featured in TV ads running in battleground states.

“He just can’t go around insulting women randomly and hope to gain the support of women,” said Mr. Bannon. “A lot of the cracks he makes about Hillary Clinton are not political; they are personal. You cannot make all these personal cracks about women and expect women to vote for you.”

Aiming to improve those numbers, the convention speakers included a variety of women, such as family members, executives in the Trump empire, celebrities and entrepreneurs, who vouched in different ways for Mr. Trump’s character.

Mr. Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany Trump, who recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, gave a speech about how her father is warm, understanding and always emotionally supportive.

“I always looked forward to introducing him to my friends, especially the ones with preconceived notions, because they meet a man with natural charm and no facade,” she said.

She touted Mr. Trump’s ability to encourage people and bring out their best.

“He motivates me to work my hardest and to always stay true to who I am and what I believe. That’s what he does,” said Ms. Trump. “He draws out that talent and drive in people so that they can achieve their full potential. That’s a great quality to have in a father, and better yet, in the president of the United States.

Kerry Woolard, general manager of the Trump Winery in Virginia, described his leadership skills, work ethic and ability to listen.

“You often hear Donald Trump talk, but what you don’t see is when he listens. He and his son Eric listen attentively and ask questions that lead to engaged, informed decisions based on the expert knowledge of those who have earned their trust,” she said.

Mrs. Woolard stressed how well she has been treated by Mr. Trump, professionally and personally.

“It’s been accompanied by respect for my accomplishments and the opportunity to develop and grow professionally,” she said. “That is a direct result of the Trumps’ leadership: leadership that we now need more today, more than ever, in our country.”

Utah delegate Larry Meyers said he found the viewpoints of the women refreshing and that it was important to let voters know about Mr. Trump’s true character.

“If that information gets out to the general public, it will help him. It shows he respects and promotes women,” he said.

Mr. Meyers said he didn’t support Mr. Trump in the primary race but respects him and the way he treats women in the Trump empire.

“He hires people and promotes people based on merit, not whether they are men or women. That’s the way it should be. That’s what the Republican Party is about — merit, not quotas.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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