In his efforts to narrow the gender gap Republicans face in Tuesday’s midterm elections — in which women voters strongly favor Democrats — Donald Trump brought three of the top women in his administration to a rally in Fort Wayne, Ind.: senior adviser Ivanka Trump, counselor Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sarah Sanders.
“I want to introduce three people that probably you’ve heard of, and you know I just left Ohio and I said I will never mention the word ‘beautiful’ when referring to a woman. I’ll never do it. No man in this room will ever again say a woman is beautiful because it’s not politically correct,” Trump said, as his crowd obliged him with a chorus of boos. “But I have a daughter who is very smart. Her name is Ivanka and she’s here.”
Citing low unemployment figures, Ivanka Trump, who spoke only briefly, said “it’s never been a better time to be an American worker.”
The president then brought Conway and Sanders to the stage, to cheers from the crowd.
“You’ll have to forgive Kellyanne and I, we’re maybe a little speechless. We’re not used to friendly crowds,” Sanders said, before tailoring her message to a specific demographic.
“A lot of people know me in my official capacity and it’s one of the greatest honors of my life to serve in your administration and one of the most important jobs I’ll ever have,” Sanders said. “But the greatest job that I’ll ever have and the greatest title I’ll ever have is that of a mom. And that’s why I work for this president, because I care about my kids’ future and I care about the future of our country and I want someone who I know will protect their future.”
In recent weeks, Trump has increasingly tried to frame the midterm elections as about security, portraying the approaching Central American migrant caravan as an issue important to women voters.
“Women all across the nation are going to show up and vote Republican on Tuesday. They want security. They want safety,” Trump said at a Friday rally in West Virginia. “They don’t want to have these people coming in. They don’t want to have … some of these people are just horrible people. You have to see the crimes they’ve committed.”
On Monday, Trump turned the appeal to women voters over to Ivanka, Sanders and Conway. Despite Trump’s efforts to stir up enthusiasm for Republican Mike Braun, who is facing incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in a much-watched battle for U.S. Senate, Conway elicited a better response from the crowd.
“I love me some Hoosiers,” Conway said during her turn at the mic. “So let me just say in my personal capacity, because this election is very personal to me, Joe [Donnelly] must go!”
That sent the audience into a prolonged chant of “Joe must go!” that left the president grinning from ear to ear.
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