• Politics

Trump and Clinton Battle Over ‘Woman Card’ Criticism

3 minute read

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump doubled down Wednesday on his argument that Hillary Clinton is “playing the woman card” with her candidacy and criticized her for “shouting” when she fired back at him in her victory speech Tuesday.

“Mr. Trump accused me of playing the, quote, ‘woman card,'” Clinton said at a rally in Philadelphia on Tuesday after winning four of the five contests in the Northeast. “Well, if fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the women’s card, then deal me in.”

“I think the only card she has is the women’s card,” Trump said later at his own rally in New York after a sweeping victory. “Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she would get 5% of the vote.”

Clinton’s campaign followed up on Wednesday by releasing an online ad with her “deal me in” message, while in morning interviews, Trump repeated his argument that Clinton wouldn’t have made it as far in the campaign as a man. The feud comes as both frontrunners are beginning to shift their focus to an increasingly likely general election matchup.

Clinton has taken to using the “deal me in” line throughout the campaign to respond to similar criticism from Trump and other candidates. “Of course she’s going to play the woman card, that’s what she does,” former Republican candidate Carly Fiorina said in December. “I’m never going to ask for people’s support because I’m a woman.”

On Wednesday, Trump said he would do well among women voters in a general election against Clinton.

“Well I haven’t quite recovered—it’s early in the morning—from her shouting that message,” Trump said Wednesday on MSNBC. “And I know a lot of people would say you can’t say that about a woman because of course a woman doesn’t shout, but the way she shouted that message was not—oh, I just—that’s the way she said it, and it’s—I guess I’ll have to get used to a lot of that over the next four or five months.”

Asked if Democrat Bernie Sanders also shouts his message, Trump said the Vermont Senator “sends a message that’s interesting” and said he would take up some of Sanders’s attacks against Clinton.

“When he said ‘bad judgment,’ I said sound bite,” Trump said.

“She is a woman, she is playing the woman card left and right. She didn’t play it last time with Obama, but she’s playing it much harder this time, and she will be called on it,” Trump said on CNN on Wednesday. “If she didn’t, she would do very poorly.” “If she were a man, and she was the way she is, she would get virtually no votes.”

“It’s not sexist. It’s true. Just a very, very true statement. If she were a man she’d get 5%,” he said on Good Morning America on Wednesday. “Women don’t like Hillary, and it’s very interesting, and if you noticed, I did very well last night with the women,”

Meanwhile, many women took to social media using the hashtag #womancard to fight back against the suggestion that Clinton would be less successful as a male candidate.

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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com