Donald Trump is struggling to connect with female voters, and his latest comments suggest that he doesn’t have any intention of changing course.
Trump is trailing Hillary Clinton 51% to 32% among female voters, according to a Fox News poll released on Wednesday. Other recent polls show a similar deficit for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
But when he was asked on “The O’Reilly Factor” if he will tailor his message to women, Trump seemed to disagree with the premise of the question:
“I think I’m doing great with women. You know, today I’m in Maine, we have a sold-out arena, the place is packed and yesterday in Ohio and Pennsylvania and West Virginia it’s packed with lines going outside, it’s incredible. And half of these people, I mean more than half, it seems, are women and have signs up, ‘Women for Trump’ and ‘We love you Donald,’ all this stuff. It’s unbelievable what’s going on.”
Anchor Bill O’Reilly then asked Trump what his message to women was, eliciting a seemingly off-topic response:
“I can tell you right now what it is. It’s strength, it’s borders, it’s a strong military. We are going to protect our country. It’s keeping people that want to kill us out of our country. You have to be vetted and vetted very strongly. It’s not letting the people from the migration, the Syrians or whoever they are because we have no idea who they are, Bill, because you can’t tell who they are because they have no paperwork whatsoever. And Obama and Clinton are letting them come in our country by the thousands and we’re not going to let them come in. We can’t let them come in.”
“The security message may resonate,” O’Reilly responded, acknowledging the derailment.
The Clinton campaign has aggressively targeted Trump for his positions on abortion, equal pay, and paid family leave, and Clinton said in a speech earlier this month that Trump “has no idea what’s best for women.”
But Clinton has had her struggles with female voters as well, suggesting that the demographic could be crucial for both candidates on Election Day. A recent poll showed Trump with a 47% to 38% lead among white female voters, despite Clinton’s lead among women overall.