In a last-minute, and decidedly antiquated, pitch to female voters, President Donald Trump boasted about getting "husbands back to work" while speaking to supporters in Michigan on Tuesday. The claim represents the president's latest attempt to appeal to suburban women and came as he spoke of his administration's efforts to jump start the economy amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"And you know what else, I'm also getting your husbands — they want to get back to work, right?" Trump said while speaking to supporters in Lansing, Michigan, on Tuesday. "They want to get back to work. We're getting your husbands back to work. And everybody wants it."
Except, while Trump is campaigning on a promise to get husbands back to work, it's actually working women who've been the most impacted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Early in the coronavirus pandemic, The Guardian reported 11.5 million women had lost their job between February and May due to COVID-19-related business closures, compared to 9 million men.
Disturbingly, women have continued to be forced out of the workforce in higher numbers than men as the coronavirus pandemic has dragged on. According to an analysis from the National Women's Law Center, a total of 865,000 women left the workforce in August and September alone, compared to just 216,000 men in that same period.
The strain of taking on additional duties at home such as the child care and management of kids learning remotely has also led one in four women to report they are considering downshifting (reducing the number of hours they work, taking a leave of absence, or moving to less demanding roles) or leaving their careers altogether, according to a Women in the Workplace study from McKinsey & Co. and Lean In. The study cautioned the coronavirus pandemic could erase years worth of gender diversity gains in the workplace.
On Tuesday, however, the president seemed unaware that women were being forced out of the workforce in greater numbers than men as a result of the pandemic. In fact, one could argue the president's archaic line of thought made him appear completely unaware of the fact that suburban women work.
In recent months, Trump has seen his popularity among female voters dwindle significantly and has, as a result, resorted to pleading with suburban women. "Can I ask you to do me a favor? Suburban women, will you please like me? I saved your damn neighborhood, OK?" CNN reported Trump said while campaigning in Pennsylvania in early October.
He issued a similar plea a week later in Nevada, saying, "Suburban women, please vote for me. I'm saving your house. I'm saving your community. I'm keeping your crime way down." At that same Nevada rally, CNN reported Trump claimed he'd fixed the water pressure in dishwashers, another reason for suburban women to vote for him.
While the president didn't mention dishwashers at Tuesday's rally in Michigan, he did reiterate his claim of having saved suburbia. "I'm saving suburbia," Trump touted. "I'm getting your kids back to school."