Sunday 22 April 2018

How The Donald's women are his Trump card

The ladies in his life may be the presidential candidate's best asset

Daughter Ivanka Trump
Daughter Ivanka Trump

Celia Walden

'The person who came up with the expression 'the weaker sex' was either very naïve or had to be kidding," wrote Donald Trump in his 1997 opus 'Trump: The Art of the Comeback'.

Of course then he went and ruined it all by adding, "I have seen women manipulate men with just a twitch of their eye - or perhaps another body part." But back then the real-estate mogul had no idea that almost two decades later his fate would rest in the hands of that very same twitching and thoroughly incomprehensible breed.

Even when it was made clear to Trump that as the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee he might need to woo the electoral swathe that happens to make up 51pc of the US population, Trump seemed to struggle to understand that publicly branding a host of famous women "dumb", "unattractive" and "bimbos" who were probably menstruating wasn't going to do it for him. And thereby he solidified what has become known as "Trump's women problem".

So serious is that "women problem" less than four months before the election, that a recent 'Washington Post'-ABC News poll found 77pc of women had an unfavourable impression of Trump - including 65pc who saw him in a "strongly unfavourable" light - while another poll had him trailing his Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton by 24 points among female voters.

He may have repeatedly lambasted Clinton for playing hers, but even Trump could see when it was time to whip out his 'women card' - and at this week's Republican National Convention, which kicked off on Monday, he wheeled out the big guns. But who are the great women who will stand not so much behind this man - as the bumper sticker reads - but alongside him?

Melania Trump: The Current Wife

Until she was handed a speech to read on day one of the convention that bore embarrassing similarities to Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech, Melania was seen as one of his best cheerleaders. Young-ish (46), beautiful, and adamant that the man she has been married to for 11 years is "not Hitler", the Slovenian Spitfire is most crucially the feline face of apolitical immigration: a woman who was smart enough to play by the rules from the moment she touched down in the US nearly 30 years ago and who would (arguably) be America's first immigrant First Lady - although, of course, had Trump been president prior to Melania's arrival, the two would probably never have met.

"The joke around Capitol Hill is that he never once considered building a wall around his trousers," says US political commentator Stephen Fisher.

Trump Card rating 6/10

Marla Maples: The Second Wife

Ex-wife Marla Maples
Ex-wife Marla Maples

Trump left his first wife, Ivana, for Marla Maples: their affair and his subsequent divorce with Ivana became tabloid fodder. Trump and Marla married in 1993 and separated in 1997.

But there's no bad blood there: in fact, just three years ago Marla admitted that she still loved him - and her former stepchildren Eric, Ivanka and Donnie, too.

The 52-year-old also has a 22-year-old daughter, Tiffany, with Trump, who was unleashed, alongside Donald Trump Jr, on day two of the GOP convention.

Trump Card rating 4/10

Ivana Trump: The First Wife

Suing his first wife of 14 years for violating a gag order might just be one of the most ludicrous things Trump has ever done.

Ivana Trump
Ivana Trump

Why? Because everything that comes out of the sequin-tastic former department store model's mouth is gold - think Marilyn Monroe crossed with Dorothy Parker. It was Ivana who famously claimed that Trump kept a book of Hitler's speeches by his bed.

The 67-year-old (right) also pretty much created Trump as he is now (even attempting to trademark 'The Donald' in 1999) - and had the good grace to pass her smartness, sass and humour down to her three children.

Trump Card rating 8/10

Ivanka Trump: The Daughter-in-Chief

This 34-year-old mother of three (an executive vice-president with the Trump Organisation and owner of a fashion brand that targets working women) is so bright, capable and poised that she really ought to be running for president herself.

"Yeah, she's really something," Trump has admitted of his daughter. "And what a beauty, that one. If I weren't happily married and, ya know, her father . . . "

So long as Trump doesn't introduce her with anything similar at the convention - and the speechwriters have come up with some original material - she could be reversing those statistics in no time.

Trump Card rating 11/10

Tiffany Trump: The 'Who Knew?' Daughter

Tifffany Trump talks fondly about her father at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters
Tifffany Trump talks fondly about her father at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Photo: Brian Snyder/Reuters

"The Trump daughter no one is talking about" first came out of her shell in November 2015, when she joined her half-siblings for a family interview with Barbara Walters and declared her father the best man for president because he was "true to himself".

Since then the 22-year-old model - who was raised by her mother Marla Maples in California - switched coasts to attend her father's alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, completed an internship at 'US Vogue' and has been seen mingling on the sidelines of Republican presidential debates.

As part of a group of socialites known as 'The Rich Kids Of Instagram' - where she has 160,000 followers - there's a slight wild card/Bristol Palin-style risk there, but she might just be a useful piece of artillery when it comes to that youth vote.

Trump Card rating - as yet unknown

Hope Hicks - Trump's press secretary

She's 27, a former model (pattern, anyone?) and spends her days both responding to the tidal waves of media requests and preventing the boss from career-ending tweeting.

Trump’s campaign press secretary Hope Hicks
Trump’s campaign press secretary Hope Hicks

One only hopes she keeps a healthy supply of tranquillisers in her desk drawer.

But having previously worked with Ivanka on her fashion line (and as the daughter of a top PR executive), Hicks seems to be able to handle whatever The Donald throws at her.

And if she plays her cards right, that might just be the job of White House Press Secretary.

Trump Card rating 9/10

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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