President Trump on Thursday twice referred to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as a “monster” following her debate performance against Vice President Pence the evening prior.
“This monster that was onstage with Mike Pence, who destroyed her last night, by the way. This monster, she says, ‘no no, there won’t be fracking,’ there won’t be this. Everything she said is a lie,” Trump said during a phone interview on Fox Business.
Trump’s broadside against Harris, an elected member of the U.S. Senate and the first Black and South Asian woman to be the vice presidential nominee of a major political party, came not 12 hours after Pence faced her in a debate marked by sharp disagreements but also civility. At one point, Pence recognized the “historic nature” of Harris’s nomination.
Trump has a history of flinging controversial insults at women that have been criticized as degrading and sexist. He called 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman” on the debate stage, a phrase that became a rallying cry for feminists opposed to Trump.
The 2016 campaign was also roiled when a tape was released of Trump boasting about grabbing women by the genitals in a conversation with Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” in 2005.
Trump has struggled with female voters, and it’s unlikely that his remarks about Harris on Thursday will help him among that group. Strategists say that white suburban women are key to Trump’s victory in 2020. Trump currently trails Democratic nominee Joe Biden in national and swing state polls, less than four weeks before the November election.
Trump has previously called Harris “very nasty” and asserted that she behaved in a “disrespectful” manner toward Biden during the primaries.
Trump’s comments, made in his first interview since his coronavirus diagnosis, were made during an exchange about Biden’s fitness for office. Trump claimed that Biden “won’t be president for two months” if elected because he is not “mentally capable of being president,” before tearing into Harris.
“He is not mentally capable of being president. You know that, everybody knows that, everybody that knows him. He can’t be president,” Trump told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo.