Correction appended, Aug. 10
Donald Trump hit the Sunday morning talk show circuit declaring himself to be a female-friendly candidate and “phenomenal to the women.”
“I’m very much into the whole thing of helping people and helping women, women’s health issues are such a big thing to me,” he said on Face the Nation, denouncing rival Jeb Bush’s remarks last week at a Tennessee campaign stop when he said “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues”—now retracted by Bush with an apology.
“I’m exactly the opposite,” the leading Republican presidential candidate added. “I will be phenomenal to the women. I want to help women. What Jeb Bush said last week I thought was totally out of order.”
Trump’s comments come a few days after the first official GOP debate of the 2016 campaign, when moderator Megyn Kelly asked Trump about his stance on women: “You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.” Trump later took to Twitter and retweeted a message in which someone called Kelly “a bimbo,” drawing fire for his insinuation that Kelly should be taken less seriously as a women.
In an interview on Friday with CNN’s Don Lemon, Trump insinuated that Kelly was on her period and that she asked this question because of it. “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her … wherever … ” he trailed off.
Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Trump said he didn’t mean to suggest that Kelly asked the question because she was menstruating. “I cherish women,” he said.
The comment drew harsh criticism of sexism from Republicans, with fellow presidential candidates condemning Trump as sexist and commentator Erick Erickson “disinviting” Trump from his RedState gathering in Atlanta.
“I think women of all kinds are really sort of horrified by this,” Carly Fiorina, the only woman running for the Republican ticket, said.
Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described a Twitter post calling Megyn Kelly a “bimbo.” That Twitter post came from a user and was retweeted by Trump.