2018 Candidate Says Donald Trump ‘Was More Respectful To Me Than the GOP Establishment Ever Was’
President Donald Trump has earned—in some corners of the country, at least—a dismal reputation for his treatment of women, but there are still plenty of women prepared to speak up for him—not least because they’ve had worse experiences with the rest of his party.
“When I met him he treated me with more respect than the GOP establishment ever has,” Christina Hagan, a 28-year-old Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives, told Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference in Laguna, Niguel, Calif. on Tuesday. “I don’t believe that he is anti-woman by any means. That’s not been my experience.”
Comments like that stand out more at a time when the same GOP establishment is doing its best to burnish its pro-women credentials by distancing itself from Roy Moore, the GOP’s candidate for the vacant Alabama Senate seat. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday joined the chorus of Republican Senators calling for Moore to withdraw from the race after a fifth woman came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. The woman, Beverly Young Nelson, claimed she was 16 at the time Moore assaulted her. Moore dismissed the allegations as inaccurate and politically-motivated.
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Trump himself had, famously, boasted of sexual assault in the Access Hollywood tape that surfaced during last year’s presidential campaign. Since being elected, he’s struggled to shed a misogynistic image. CNN reported Monday that of 42 nominations he’s made to the position of U.S. attorney this year, only one has been a woman.
Even so, Hagan said she truly believes that “Trump is the president that is needed for this time”—a line she acknowledged wouldn’t be popular with much of the audience. “Is the man flawed? Absolutely. But every person in this room is flawed and I’m flawed too.”
Hagan is running next year for U.S. Congress in the 16th district of Ohio, a state that was a crucial win for Trump in 2016.