If this question from a townhall in New Hampshire last night came as part of an aggressive strategy from Team Jeb! to attack Donald Trump’s weakness with women, it might create a little backfire. Lauren Batchelder challenged Trump on his treatment of women without revealing that she volunteers for the Bush campaign. Trump immediately attacked Bush after the event for planting Batchelder in an attempt to conduct a less-than-open attack:
Trump got up early this morning to go on offense:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2015
The blog The Last Refuge, linked by Trump, found an August 6th tweet from Batchelder that announced that she had taken a job with Team Jeb. The blogger Sundance assumes this means a paid position, but it’s not clear whether it’s paid or not. Regardless, Team Jeb acknowledged her connection to the campaign:
“Like many in NH, Lauren is a student at St. A’s who is passionate about and active in politics and attended this event on her own accord. While this question was not sanctioned by the campaign, we can’t help but notice Mr. Trump does seem to be very sensitive about being challenged by women,” a campaign aide said.
Really? That makes the second part of this exchange more than a little problematic:
The woman, identified as Lauren Batchelder, demanded to know if Trump would ensure that woman are paid the same amount as a man if he became president and if she would have say over her body.
Trump responded that a woman “will make the same if you do as good a job.” In response to the abortion question, Trump simply said, “I’m pro-life.”
So if Batchelder is a plant, she maneuvered Trump into … proclaiming his pro-life creds in front of a potentially hostile audience? Er … a sick burn it ain’t. Even if Batchelder went there on her own, this exchange raises some uncomfortable questions for the Bush campaign. Jeb Bush has a very good record as a pro-life governor, but Batchelder’s arguing pro-choice and largely debunked income-inequality positions and demanding government intervention on both. That seems inconsistent, to say the least, with Republican free-market and pro-life principles. Republicans aren’t going to flock to the standard of a campaign whose volunteers proclaim what sounds more like the Hillary Clinton campaign’s agenda.
If this was an attempt to embarrass Trump, it backfired. Maybe it’s time to keep the interns from free-lancing, if that’s indeed what happened.