(WASHINGTON) — “Lack of talent.” Unlikable. “Mean.”
President Donald Trump laced into former Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren on Friday, insisting that sexism wasn’t to blame for the end of the Massachusetts senator’s presidential campaign, even as he used attacks often directed at female politicians.
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.
“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 attack often directed at female politicians, including when former President Barack Obama condescendingly called his then-rival Hillary Clinton “likable enough” during the 2008 Democratic primary campaign.
And Trump, of course, has a long history of making less-than-kind comments himself. While he has defended himself as an equal-opportunity insulter, Trump has made particularly harsh comments about women, going after their physical appearances, comparing them to animals and seeming to dwell on their attacks on him.
After moderator Megyn Kelly confronted Trump during the first Republican debate of the 2016 cycle over his comments 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 dropped out of the race Thursday after a disappointing showing in early-state voting. Trump’s campaign had once seen her a potentially formidable challenger, and Trump went after her early, derisively labeling her “Pocahontas” over her claims of Native American heritage.