A New York state senator is incensed with the media for focusing on Donald Trump’s now-infamous quip about Fox News host Megyn Kelly’s period, saying other Republican candidates pose a much bigger threat to women’s rights.
In a Facebook post published Tuesday, Staten Island Democrat Diane Savino ripped into what she called the “theater of the absurd” when it comes to Trump. The Republican front-runner has been under fire for the last week for insulting women with terms like “pig” and “slob,” which many have decried as sexist.
“I am not going to listen to this nonsense anymore about how Trump is offensive to women,” Savino wrote, asserting that at least five other Republican candidates have more offensive views on women — particularly when it comes to their right to choose whether to have an abortion.
Savino alluded to comments made by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at Thursday’s primetime GOP debate, in which he said he would not support abortion even if women may die if they do not end the pregnancy.
“On that [debate] stage that night were three current United States Senators, and two governors who all said that women’s lives are worthless, except as potential breeders,” she continued. “All of them, current office holders, seeking to become the President of the United States, believe that there should be no exception on abortion, none, not rape, not incest, not even if it is necessary to save the life of the mother, and that ladies, is what is friggin’ offensive to women.”
Asked to clarify, Savino told ThinkProgress in a phone interview Tuesday that Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, all have “said either expressly, or a nuanced fashion, that they don’t support a women’s right to make decisions about her own life.”
All five of those candidates have expressed support for legislation to outlaw abortion after 20 weeks. Asked whether they support exceptions to the law in the case of rape or incest, Rubio has said no; Cruz has said no; and Paul has not specified. Both Kasich and Christie have said they support exceptions in the case of rape, incest, and health of the mother. Walker seems to be the only candidate so far who has said he does not support abortions even when the mother’s life is at risk.
Trump, on the other hand, has flip-flopped a bit on the issue. He had historically been pro-choice, but then changed his stance to pro-life. He once said shutting the government down would be better than funding Planned Parenthood, but recently backed off of that position. On Tuesday, he said that he supports exceptions for rape, incest, and health of the mother.
Still, even if Trump had the same views on abortion as the other candidates, Savino told ThinkProgress that he’s not “as big a threat to women’s rights as other candidates.”
“Trump’s not even an elected official,” she said. “Why are we paying attention to a person who does not even have the ability today to take action against or for women, and ignoring the fact that we have at least five people who have the power right now to do real harm to women?”
Savino’s not the first politician to assert that other Republican candidates have more offensive views on women than Donald Trump. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton made similar remarks on Monday, specifically calling out Rubio for opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.
“I think [Trump] went way overboard. Offensive, outrageous, pick your adjective,” Clinton said. “But what Marco Rubio said has as much of an impact in terms of where the Republican Party is today as anybody else on that stage, and it is deeply troubling.”