President Donald Trump might need a refresher on what century he’s living in.
In yet another appeal to female voters ahead of Election Day, Trump pledged on Tuesday that if reelected, he’d be sure to get their “husbands back to work.” He made the astonishing remark during a campaign rally in Lansing, Michigan, after falsely bragging that he “did great with women” in the 2016 election.
“And that’s going to happen again. Because women, suburban or otherwise, they want security, they want security, they want safety. They want law and order,” he said.
The president detoured briefly to attack Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ― the target of a violent kidnapping plot recently foiled by the FBI ― for her coronavirus lockdown measures, before returning to his pitch to women on COVID-19 economic recovery.
“You know what else? I’m also getting your husbands ― they wanna get back to work. ... We’re getting your husbands back to work. Everybody wants it,” Trump said.
Women accounted for 55% of the 20.5 million people who lost their jobs in April due to coronavirus-related business closures. And women have continued to bear the brunt of the pandemic recession. According to the National Women’s Law Center, of the 1.1 million workers who dropped out of the labor force last month, 865,000 were women, including 324,000 Latinas and 58,000 Black women.
Amid falling poll numbers in the suburbs, particularly among white women, Trump has been framing himself as a champion of women in the suburbs, which he claims are under siege. He has repeatedly asserted that he “saved” the suburbs by ending a federal effort to encourage low-income housing there ― rhetoric that critics have labeled a racist dog whistle about keeping people of colour out of those neighbourhoods.
In August, Trump wondered why suburban women would vote for Democrats when Democratic-run cities are “rampant with crime.” (This is not true.) And earlier this month, he resorted to a more direct approach at a Pennsylvania rally, begging suburban women to “please like me” because “I saved your damn neighbourhood.”
The president’s 1950s-esque remark on Tuesday did not fly with critics.