President Donald Trump told supporters at his campaign rally on Friday night that Sen. Kamala Harris isn’t competent enough to be the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee, suggesting that his daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, would be a better candidate for such a role.
Speaking in Londonderry, New Hampshire, Trump made fun of the California Democrat’s failed 2020 presidential campaign and suggested that his daughter, who is also a presidential adviser, would be a better vice presidential contender.
“You know, I want to see the first woman president also, but I don’t want to see a woman president get into that position the way she’d do it – and she’s not competent. She’s not competent. They’re all saying, ‘We want Ivanka.’ I don’t blame you,” Trump said.
The attack on Harris came a day after the President wrapped the Republican National Convention, which focused a large portion of its program on convincing voters that he is kind to women and has worked on behalf of Black Americans, messaging aimed at countering the President’s history of racist and sexist comments.
Harris, the first Black woman and the first South Asian American woman to accept a major party’s vice presidential nomination, has been a US senator representing California since 2017. Previously, she was the California attorney general and served as district attorney of San Francisco before that.
The President has a history of making disparaging remarks about African Americans, including calling them “dumb” or “stupid” in public. He’s specifically referred to some Black journalists, including some from CNN, in that way. He’s told an Asian American reporter she should relax and keep her voice down when asking questions.
Trump has also made a number of disparaging remarks about the intelligence and appearance of women over the years. He said MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski had a “low IQ.” He said Arianna Huffington “is unattractive both inside and out.” He’s called Harris and other women who oppose his policies “nasty.” And he’s referred to women who live in suburbs as “housewives.” While most suburban women work, he’s argued that it is a term they embrace.
Earlier this summer, polls showed that the gender gap – the difference between which party and candidate men and women support – was at or near historic highs and recent polls find Biden leading heavily with Black voters. But in swing states, the addition of more Black votes could make a difference for Trump.
The President seemed to suggest on Friday that his off-script comments about Harris’ competence were meant solely for his supporters – not the larger number of American households watching his heavily scripted convention speech on television Thursday night.
After hearing pundits talk about how he had toned down his RNC speech, Trump told rallygoers in New Hampshire, “Well, it’s a different kind of a speech. Tonight, I’m in New Hampshire and we can wing it.”
“If I did last night’s speech here, right now you would have all been walking out,” he added. “And if I did tonight’s speech there, I would have been criticized by being slightly radical.”
CNN’s Donald Judd contributed to this report.