WASHINGTON (AP) — “Lack of talent.” Unlikable. “Mean.”
President Donald Trump insisted Friday that sexism wasn’t to blame for the end of Elizabeth Warren’s Democratic presidential campaign, even as he showered her with insults that are often deployed against women.
Speaking to reporters as he signed an emergency $8.3 billion funding package to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak, Trump was asked whether he thought sexism had anything to do with Warren’s departure from the Democratic presidential race on Thursday.
“No, I think lack of talent was her problem. She has a tremendous lack of talent,” Trump responded. The president commended her debate performances, saying she “was a good debater” who had “destroyed” the candidacy of former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg “like it was nothing.”
“But people don’t like her,” he went on to say. “She’s a very mean person. … People don’t want that. They like a person like me, that’s not mean.”
It’s the kind of criticism often directed at female politicians, like when former President Barack Obama condescendingly called his then-rival Hillary Clinton “likable enough” during the 2008 Democratic primary campaign.
Trump, of course, has a long history of making unkind comments himself. While he has defended himself as an equal-opportunity insulter, he has used especially harsh rhetoric against women, going after their physical appearances, comparing them to animals and seeming to dwell on their criticism of him.
After moderator Megyn Kelly confronted Trump during the first Republican debate of the 2016 cycle with a list of demeaning comments he had made about women, Trump later said of her: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
Warren has not blamed sexism for her failed candidacy, but on Thursday suggested that her road may have been harder than that of the male candidates in the race.
“If you say, ‘Yeah, there was sexism in this race,’ everyone says, ‘Whiner!'” she said. “And if you say, ‘No, there was no sexism,’ about a bazillion women think, ‘What planet do you live on?'”
Warren ended her campaign after a disappointing showing in early-state voting, including failing to win a single Super Tuesday state. Trump’s campaign had once seen her as a potentially formidable challenger, and Trump went after her early, derisively labeling her “Pocahontas” over her claims of Native American heritage.