The controversy over Donald Trump’s stance on abortion took another turn on Saturday, when a New York Times interviewer wrote that the Republican presidential frontrunner appeared to avoid a question about whether any woman he had been involved with had undergone such a procedure.
Maureen Dowd referred to Trump’s suggestion this week that women who have abortions should be punished – a comment he swiftly retracted – when she wrote: “Given his draconian comment, sending women back to back alleys, I had to ask: When he was a swinging bachelor in Manhattan, was he ever involved with anyone who had an abortion?
‘Such an interesting question,’ he said. ‘So what’s your next question?’”
Trump made his initial remark on Wednesday, in an interview with MSNBC host Chris Matthews . Controversy ensued, highlighting the candidate’sextremely poor ratings with female voters of all political stripes.
Having retracted the remark, on Friday he rowed further back, telling John Dickerson of CBS : “The laws are set now on abortion and that’s the way they’re going to remain until they’re changed.”
Speaking to Dowd, he explained his suggestion that women having abortions should be punished by saying: “This was not real life … this was a hypothetical, so I thought of it in terms of a hypothetical. So that’s where that answer came from, hypothetically.”
Dowd also asked Trump about his controversial remarks about women including Heidi Cruz, the wife of his closest challenger for the Republican nomination; Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination; Fox News host Megyn Kelly; and the comedian Rosie O’Donnell.
“I won’t comment on Rosie,” Dowd quoted him as saying. “I wish her the best. See? In the old days – tell your sister, I’m making progress.”
Trump – who answered a question about his divisive rhetoric on the campaign trail by saying “I can be as presidential as anybody who ever lived. I can be so presidential if I want” – also disputed the extent of women voters’ dislike for him .
Dowd wrote: “I pressed, how he could possibly win with 73% of women in this country turned off by him?
“He chose another poll, murmuring, ‘It was 68%, actually.’”
The Trump campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
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