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President Trump has a habit of bashing women who challenge him — here’s a look back

President Trump has a habit of bashing women who challenge him
Here’s a look at some of the most high-profile incidents since Trump first ran for president.

“So, can I ask you to do me a favor?” President Trump said to a raucous crowd in Pennsylvania last week. “Suburban women, would you please like me? Please, please."

It was a revealing moment for Trump, who is sagging in the polls just weeks before Election Day, and is running far behind his 2016 levels among women. A New York Times/Siena College poll released on Tuesday found Trump trailing his rival, former vice president Joe Biden, by 23 points among women. Among men, Trump was leading Biden by six points.

But even as he pleads for a boost in female support at his rallies and dispatches surrogates like Lara Trump to rally women in battleground states, Trump is continuing to launch fierce attacks against female journalists and politicians who challenge him, including just in the last week against “TODAY” show co-host Savannah Guthrie and “60 Minutes” host Lesley Stahl. It’s an issue that’s been thrown into especially sharp relief ahead of Trump’s next debate Thursday, which will be moderated by NBC’s Kristen Welker.

It’s also well-worn territory for Trump, who has received blowback time and again for his attacks on women, and has faced allegations of sexual harassment and assault from more than two dozen women dating back decades. Here’s a look at some of the most high-profile incidents since Trump first ran for president.


Megyn Kelly

After then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who has faced her own controversies since leaving Fox, asked Trump about disparaging comments he had made about women during a Republicans primary debate in 2015, Trump appeared on CNN the following day where he made his now-infamous remark about “blood coming out of her wherever."

But less remembered is what happened the previous night, when Trump tweeted angrily about the host into the early hours of the morning. In one post, Trump retweeted a user who called Kelly a “bimbo.”


In all, Trump tweeted about Kelly more than a dozen times over several days.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton spoke during a debate with then-candidate Donald Trump.Rick T. Wilking

Trump lobbed continuous attacks on Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, starting before she had secured the Democratic nomination and continuing throughout their bruising campaign. But the acrimony perhaps reached a peak during their final presidential debate in the closing days of the race, when Trump called Clinton a “nasty woman,” as she was discussing her Social Security plans.

“My Social Security payroll contribution will go up, as will Donald’s, assuming he can’t figure out how to get out of it,” Clinton said.

“Such a nasty woman,” Trump interjected as she was speaking.

Also in the closing days of the 2016 election, Trump praised his supporters who had made “lock her up!” chants a fixture at his campaign rallies. At a rally in Pennsylvania in Oct. 2016, as he discussed Clinton campaign e-mails released by WikiLeaks, Trump said “lock her up is right,” and paused for several seconds as his supporters erupted into chants calling for Clinton to be jailed.

Prior to his announcement that he’d run for president, Trump retweeted a Twitter user who said, “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” That tweet was eventually deleted.

His fixation with Clinton did not end after the election. He continued to call for investigations into her, and as late as May of this year Trump retweeted a Twitter user who called Clinton a “skank."


Alicia Machado

Alicia Machado spoke during a news conference in Arlington, Va., to criticize then-candidate Donald Trump.Luis Alonso Lugo

Trump took aim at a former Miss Universe winner during a Fox News interview in 2015, shortly after Clinton had discussed his past treatment of her during a presidential debate.

Clinton recounted during a September 2016 presidential debate that Trump had referred to Alicia Machado, who won the Miss Universe pageant in 1996, as “Miss Housekeeping” and “Miss Piggy,” prompting Trump to insult Machado further as he tried to defend himself to Fox News hosts.

“She gained a massive amount of weight. It was a real problem. We had a real problem," Trump said on Fox and Friends the day after the debate.

Mika Brzezinski

In a tweet that was immediately condemned by critics as sexist, President Trump launched a highly personal and graphic attack on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski’s appearance in 2017. In a series of tweets claiming she was recovering from a facelift when he saw her during an event at Mar-A-Lago, Trump also called her “crazy,” and “low I.Q."

The tweets sparked calls from Republicans for the president to stop tweeting.

Elizabeth Warren

President Trump has taunted Senator Elizabeth Warren with the slur “Pocahontas,” called her “mean,” and said she was unlikable.

Speaking to reporters at the White House in March of this year after Warren dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Trump claimed sexism was not to blame for the end of the campaign, while at the same time employing a series of tropes commonly used to criticize women.


“But people don’t like her,” Trump said. “She’s a very mean person. . . . People don’t want that. They like a person like me, that’s not mean.”

Kamala Harris

Trump has also used the word “unlikable” to describe vice presidential nominee Senator Kamala Harris. During an interview with Fox Business’ Maria Baritromo following Harris' debate with Vice President Mike Pence earlier this month, Trump repeatedly called Harris a “monster” and claimed she was lying about Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s position on fracking.

“And this monster that was on stage with Mike Pence — who destroyed her last night by the way — but this monster, she says, ‘no, no there won’t be fracking.'”

Trump continued:

“She was terrible. I don’t think you could get worse,” he said. “And totally unlikeable. And she is.”

Savannah Guthrie

President Trump participated in a town hall with moderator Savannah Guthrie.Evan Vucci/Associated Press

After a tense town hall event last week in which TODAY show co-host Savannah Guthrie grilled Trump about his coronavirus infection and Twitter habits, Trump disparaged her during multiple campaign events over the next several days.

“That was a nice, pleasurable evening, as I had somebody going totally crazy last night,” Trump said during an event in Florida on Friday, in apparent reference to his NBC News town hall the previous night.

During a rally in Georgia later that same day, Trump criticized Guthrie’s appearance:

“And then, Savannah, it was like, her face, the anger, the craziness, I mean the craziness last night.”


He took things further during a rally in Arizona on Monday, calling Guthrie a “crazed lunatic.”

“So I had Savannah Guthrie the other night,” he said. “She was like a crazed lunatic. She was literally rising out of her chair where she’s screaming questions.”

Lesley Stahl

Trump reportedly cut short an interview with “60 Minutes” host Lesley Stahl this week, but it was not immediately clear what prompted him to do so. In a series of tweets, he threatened to release video of the interview ahead of its planned air date on Sunday, and claimed Stahl was not wearing a mask while she was close to him.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.