In Focus

Trump’s a sexist oaf – so why does he appeal to so many women?

Donald Trump is known to promote tough women into senior positions, yet he also has a rep as a boorish alpha male and has been back in court this week after being found liable last year for sexual abuse. Alex Hannaford unpicks the complicated ‘women problem’ of the man who would be president – again

Thursday 18 January 2024 16:00 GMT
Melania Trump kisses her husband and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump
Melania Trump kisses her husband and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (Getty)

The paradox couldn’t have been starker. Shortly after midnight on 16 January, ABC News called the Iowa Republican caucuses for Donald J Trump. Entrance poll results indicated that he had “trounced” the competition, the network said – adding that “election deniers and Maga had got him there”. But so had Republican women.

Ten hours later, Trump was in a courtroom in New York City waiting to find out what damages he would have to pay to settle a defamation claim by E Jean Carroll – a woman who, separate juries found, had been sexually assaulted and later defamed by him. It was a classic example of the troubling and complicated relationship that the businessman and former president seems to have had with women for his entire life – both personally and professionally.

The fact that women are winning the primaries for Trump (he won the votes of around half of both men and women in Iowa, far ahead of any other candidate) may have casual observers scratching their heads. Add to this the rumours that he’s considering a female running mate, and you might start to wonder what’s really going on inside the head of one of the world’s most notoriously sexist alpha males.

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