Tuesday night's Republican debate was full of unexpected surprises, from Rand Paul shining through, to the typically mild-mannered John Kasich revealing a more aggressive side. But the biggest shocker was Donald Trump, who remained even-keeled and delivered not jabs but answers on — gasp! — policy. Trump continued his new docile demeanor into the next morning when he appeared on Morning Joe, leaving the hosts speechless and in disbelief over his weirdly complimentary attitude. However, the Trump whom we know (and don't love) finally showed through when asked about his Achilles' heel: women. Instead of giving a real response, Trump deflected the question about women in his cabinet, and quickly changed the subject to ... Carl Icahn.
Last week, new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he would make his cabinet 50 percent women "because it's 2015." The self-described feminist then made good on his promise, choosing 15 men and 15 women for his team. When Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski asked if Trump would follow in Trudeau's footsteps and fill his cabinet with 50 percent women, Trump flexed his rather weak deflection muscle. He responded:
Well, I think you know a lot about my company. I have many, many women in my company, probably more than anybody proportionally. It's probably just about 50 percent — it might even be more than 50 percent. So I'm not one that has to make a pledge, and I wouldn't that because I will tell you: I want the best person at each position, OK? I want to get the best — Carl Icahn endorsed me. I'm gonna get Carl involved with China ...
And there goes the subject of women.
But in looking closer at Trump's non-answer, it's actually quite revealing. He claims that his company is made up of "just about 50 percent" women, if not more. First of all, how does he not know the demographics of his own company? The percentage of men and women in your own business seems like a pretty basic major statistic to know. Second of all, how many of those women are receptionists, junior-level employees, and cleaning ladies? What makes Trudeau's move significant is not simply that he gave women more jobs; it was that he was bringing gender equality to an upper echelon that's normally less accessible for women.
So when Trump says he wants the best person for the job, regardless of gender, that might fly as a gender-neutral statement if it were coming from someone else. But for a man who's called women horrendously offensive names, and who's exhibited indisputably sexist behavior throughout his campaign, it's safe to assume that who Trump thinks will be best for the job will be predominantly male.