Carly Fiorina Shines In Second GOP Debate, Neutralizes Donald Trump
Last night, Sept. 17, the second Republican Presidential Debate was broadcast on CNN. In a crowded GOP field, the 11 frontrunners appeared on the main stage to answer questions about foreign policy, immigration, national security, and other important issues that will ultimately decided the GOP nomination and next year’s election.
Despite the three-hour-long running time, many reports agree that CNN focused more on creating tension and prodding fights between the candidates than allowing them to speak on the issues at hand. But if CNN was looking for a fight between GOP frontrunner Donald Trump and candidate Carly Fiorina, they were surely disappointed.
In case you missed it, Donald Trump recently made some questionable (to say the least) comments in Rolling Stone about Carly Fiorina. Specifically, he said, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president. I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
Instead of clapping back with anger, Fiorina recorded an ad in which she addresses a crowd, proudly proclaiming, “This is the face of a 61-year-old woman. I am proud of every year and every wrinkle.”
Fiorina’s response stands in stark contrast to her fellow Republican candidates, who responded with vitriol. Instead, Fiorina’s response was understated and places the focus back on her accomplishments and platform, rather than “stooping” to the level of Trump.
Fiorina’s strategy is not only working, but it’s distinguishing her from her competitors, and nowhere was this more apparent than on Wednesday night, when she shone in an overcrowded field of candidates with her commanding presence, well-articulated ideas, and her understated approach to Trump’s rude comments and criticism.
Moderator and reporter Jake Tapper asked Fiorina to respond to Trump’s comments, stoking the fire perhaps unnecessarily, but leading to this shining moment for Fiorina:
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 17, 2015
She responded, as seen in the video above, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”
Fiorina, with this comment, deflected the moderator’s purpose to begin a fight, and instead made Trump’s comments universal, citing the fact that most women, if not all women, totally understand the sexist overtones of Trump’s statement. Instead of making it about her, Fiorina made it about us. Thus she placed herself in the position to act as a voice for the millions of women in America who have experienced sexism in all its forms.
Trump, for his part, tried to do some damage control and said that Carly Fiorina is “beautiful,” proving that he entirely misses the point.
What does Fiorina’s appearance matter, if she can do the job? If Trump is allowed to get angry when someone makes a snarky comment about his hair, then surely he can understand the backlash of his comments, overt sexism notwithstanding.
Carly Fiorina made a splash last night, and it will be exciting to see where she goes politically in the coming months.