President Trump arrived in western Pennsylvania on Saturday night for one of his favorite presidential tasks: delivering a long, free-association speech at a political rally.
At one point he began rehashing the 2016 election, as he does.
“Women!” he yelled. “Women, we love you. We love you.
“Hey, didn’t we surprise them with women during the election? Remember? ‘Women won’t like Donald Trump,’ ” he said, mimicking cable news pundits. “I said, ‘Have I really had that kind of a problem? I don‘t think so.’ But: ‘Women won’t like Donald Trump. It will be a rough night for Donald Trump because the women won’t come out.’ We got 52 percent. Right? Fifty-two.
“And I’m running against a woman! You know it’s not that easy,” Trump said.
That figure, 52 percent, is clearly incorrect. Why? Because we know that Trump 1) received more support from men than from women and 2) lost the popular vote. So if he’d received majorities of men and women, it would have been awfully hard for him to get a minority of the ballots cast.
Checking the exit polls shows that, in fact, Trump was wrong. He got only 41 percent of the vote from women. He got 52 percent from men.
When I noted this on Twitter, someone pointed out another way in which Trump might have erred. When he said “women,” maybe he really meant “white women.”
And, sure enough, among white women, Trump earned the 52 percent figure to which he referred.
Among Hispanic women, he won only a quarter of the vote. Among black women, he got an overwhelmingly poor 4 percent of support.
In other words, Trump’s celebration of how well he did with women appears to have been, in fact, a celebration of how well he did with white women, somehow skipping over that critical modifier. What’s more, Trump’s was the worst showing for a Republican among white women since 2000, when George W. Bush barely edged out Al Gore.
At the same rally, Trump made several comments of the sort that led pundits before the 2016 election to predict he’d do poorly with female voters. He disparaged Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) by calling her “Pocahontas,” as he does, but also by insulting her advocacy for Clinton during the campaign. Warren’s speeches, he said, were “so angry” that she was losing every man in the audience, and some women. Trump also twice disparaged Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) as “low IQ.”
It’s been a rocky week for the president. As the White House pushed forward with fostering a sense of normalcy, including with its annual statement celebrating International Women’s Day, Trump’s team was forced to answer questions about his alleged affair with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and his attorney’s $130,000 payment to keep Daniels from talking.
In a Quinnipiac University poll released this week, Trump’s approval rating was 38 percent — and 33 percent among women.