OPED: Will Toomey play the 'woman card' in Pennsylvania?

Marcy Stech
Emily's List
In this file photo, Pennsylvania's Republican Sen. Pat Toomey speaks during a press conference on the shooting of Philadelphia police officer in Philadelphia, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. (Alajandro A. Alvarez/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has adopted a new strategy to marginalize women by claiming that women voters only support women candidates because they are women. Several times, Trump has accused his likely female opponent of playing the “woman’s card” in order to win over women voters, which has been met with both outrage and distance from women, including Sen. Pat Toomey’s own colleagues in the Senate.

Like Donald Trump, Toomey, a Republican, is running against a strong woman leader. Katie McGinty is a working mom and a clear champion for women and families. McGinty supports equal pay for women, paid family and medical leave, access to health care for women, and increasing wages for Pennsylvania workers.

Toomey, on the other hand, opposes these commonsense policies and consistently stands in the way of progress for Pennsylvania women and families. Since he has no policies to stand on that support women and families, are we about to see him devalue his female opponent and launch character attacks on her in the same vein as Donald Trump?

It wouldn’t be a surprise, since Toomey has pledged his support for the Republican nominee for president and Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee.

Toomey-Trump and women:

  • Trump Said of Former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “the Only Card She Has Is the Woman’s Card.” During a speech after primary results in several states on April 26, Trump said, “I think the only card she has is the woman's card.  She's got nothing else going.  And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get five percent of the vote. ” (YouTube, 4/26/16)
  • Trump Doubled Down: Said Clinton “Playing the Woman Card Left and Right.” “Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump early Wednesday defended comments that the only thing his Democratic counterpart, Hillary Clinton, has ‘got going is the woman’s card.’ ‘She is a woman, she is playing the woman card left and right,’ Trump said on CNN’s ‘New Day.’ ‘She’s playing it much harder this time and she will be called on it,’ he said. ‘If she didn’t, she would be doing poorly,’ he added.” (The Hill, 4/27/16)
  • Trump Tripled Down: Said Clinton Played the Woman’s Card” Because She Is Not Even Viable “to Even Run for a City Council Position.” During an interview on NBC’s “Today,” Trump responded to a question from Matt Lauer asking if he cared about the women’s vote, saying, “Of course I care. Nobody respects women more than I do. And I wasn't playing the woman's card, it's true. I mean, she is playing the woman's card. Everything she says is about the woman's card. And, frankly, all I'm doing is bringing out the obvious. And without the woman's card, Hillary would not even be a viable person to even run for a city council position […] I think the only thing that she’s got going is the fact that she’s a woman.” (Today, 4/28/16)
  • Trump Quadrupled Down: Said Clinton Plays the “Woman’s Card” and She Wouldn’t “Even Be in This Race” If She Were Not a Woman. In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump repeated his comments from the previous week, saying, “The fact is, the only card she has is the woman's card. She's done a lousy job in so many ways and even women don't like her. They don't like her. But it is the woman's card and she plays it, and I’ll let you know in about six months whether or not she plays it well. But I don't think she'll play it well. I don't think she'll play it well at all. And it's true, if she were not a woman, she wouldn't even be in this race.” (Fox News Sunday, 5/01/16)
  • Toomey Would Support the Republican Nominee. During an appearance on CNBC, Toomey said, “I will be supporting the Republican nominee, whoever that is.” (CNBC, 9/14/15)
  • Reiterated in April 2016 that He’d Support the Eventual Republican Nominee. During an interview on the Dom Giordano Program, Toomey said, “I’ve said all along, I intend to support the Republican nominee.” (Buzzfeed, 4/28/16)

Pat Toomey and Donald Trump have already embraced an out-of-touch agenda that puts barriers in the way of Pennsylvania women. Now the question is, since he has no record of providing economic opportunity for women, will Sen. Toomey play the ‘woman’s card’ too?

Now more than ever, Pennsylvania women need a senator who stands up for women, not one who will join Donald Trump in holding women back.

— Marcy Stech is communications director at EMILY’s ListEMILY’s List has trained over 9,000 women to run and helped elect over 100 women to the House, 19 to the Senate, 11 governors, and over 700 to state and local office. It recruits and trains candidates, supports strong campaigns, researches women's issues - including health and reproductive issues - and turns out women voters. Since its founding in 1985, almost 1/3 of the candidates EMILY’s List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color - including every single Latina, African American, and Asian American Democratic congresswoman currently serving.