Carly Fiorina speaks at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix on Friday. (Photo: Cheryl Evans/The Arizona Republic via AP)
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina turned the tables on Donald Trump after he said her face makes her unelectable.
Rather than sidestep the putdown, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO cleverly turned it into an asset, encouraging a National Federation of Republican Women audience to do exactly what Trump commanded: “Look at that face!”
“Ladies, look at this face. This is the face of a 61-year-old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle,” Fiorina said to roaring applause, kicking off her speech Friday night. “And look at all of your faces. The face of leadership … in our party, the party of women’s suffrage.”
Fiorina, the only woman running for the GOP nomination, has been rising in the polls and made the cut for the next primetime Republican debate Wednesday; her campaign picked up momentum after a strong performance in the party’s first JV debate.
At the Reagan Library in California, the former businesswoman will face off against a slew of career politicians and two other outsiders making waves: retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Trump.
The real estate magnate turned reality TV star lobbed his insult turned alley-oop while being interviewed for a Rolling Stone article that was published Wednesday.
"Look at that face!” Trump said while watching Fiorina on TV. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! … I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s'posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
Later that night, Fiorina responded in a conversation with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, another woman with whom Trump has feuded.
Carly Fiorina signs autographs in Phoenix. (Photo: Cheryl Evans/The Arizona Republic via AP)
“Well, I think those comments speak for themselves,” she said. “And all of the many, many, many thousands of voters out there that are helping me climb in the polls, yes, they’re very serious.”
Fiorina suggested her rising polls numbers might be worrying Trump. One thing is certain: Both of their poll numbers should be troubling for their competition — dyed-in-the-wool Washington insiders.
“Seventy-five percent of the American people think the federal government is corrupt,” she said during the National Federation of Republican Women speech. “Eighty-two percent of the American people now think we have a professional political class that is so focused with the preservation of its own power, privilege and position that it has forgotten who it is there to serve.”
Fiorina also went after former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and criticized the Democratic Party for — from her perspective — treating women as a special interest group rather than the majority of the country.
“I personally am so tired of hearing about women’s issues. Every issue is a woman’s issue,” she said. “We care about health care. We care about national security, education, about debts and deficits. Yes, we care about the character of our nation.”