Carly Fiorina Abandons Her Defense of Women For Possible Trump Cabinet Post

December 13, 2016, 6:06 PM UTC
Carly Fiorina Donald Trump Split 2016
Photograph by Nicholas Kamm — AFP/Getty Images (left), Photograph by Timothy A. Clary — AFP/Getty Images (right)

In the weeks following the election, the lobby of Trump Tower has seen a steady stream of “Never Trumpers” and other once-critical politicians and public figures coming to pay their respects to the president-elect—and, in some cases, to make a play for a job in his administration.

The latest Trump antagonist to add her name to the list: Carly Fiorina.

On Monday, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and GOP presidential contender went to midtown Manhattan to meet with Trump, who is reportedly considering her for director of national intelligence.

Check out our 2016 list of the Most Powerful Women in Business

It was jarring sight for followers of Fiorina’s primary race. In one of the early sexism-related dustups of the campaign, Trump gave a Rolling Stone interview in which he said of Fiorina:

Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?

Fiorina responded to his comments in a September 2015 primary debate, saying: “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.” Her campaign also released an ad titled “Look at This Face.” While the video doesn’t mention Trump by name, it includes images of a variety of women interspersed with footage of Fiorina speaking at Republican women’s event.

“Ladies, look at this face and look at all of your faces, the face of leadership,” Fiorina says. “This is the face of a 61-year-old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle.”

After discontinuing her own campaign, she signed as running mate with Trump’s fiercest primary rival, Sen. Ted Cruz (albeit briefly: The pair stumped together for just seven days before Cruz dropped out of the race).

The former chief executive also spoke out in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape, which captured Trump bragging about how his celebrity allowed him to sexually assault women. Fiorina tweeted that the then-GOP nominee should step down, saying, “Donald Trump does not represent me and my party.”

Yet despite taking a firm stand for women during the campaign, Fiorina was quick to walk back her criticism after the Monday meeting. Calling Trump “a champion,” she crowed over his intention to “reset America’s role in the world” and his choice of “fantastic people” for his administration.

Fiorina has been a trailblazer in the business world—as CEO of H-P, she was the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company. In 1998, she landed atop Fortune‘s own Most Powerful Women list. And while her political career has yet to take off, her status as one of the handful of women to have made a strong bid for the GOP presidential nomination is also significant. Those bona fides made it sting all the more to watch Fiorina heap praise on her former opponent—and abandon the side of America’s women.

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