As Republican leaders try to unify their party at the national convention this week, some comments from the party’s nominee continue to divide the party’s women.
Female delegates attending the convention have mixed feelings regarding Donald Trump’s statements and attitudes toward women. Though some said they think his words and statements upset them, others said they believe his actions should speak louder than those words.
“I like to characterize it as locker-room talk,” Texas delegate Janis Holt said. “I don’t necessarily like that he makes it part of his public persona instead of keeping it solely in his personal life.”
Holt said she was completely against Trump as a presidential candidate until he chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate.
“I’m hoping Pence will help him settle down a little,” Holt said. “It might make his comments more appropriate.”
Though Trump can be polarizing to Republican women, many delegates said they widely view Pence as a positive addition to the ticket.
“If you want an honest man, you have that in Pence,” Indiana delegate Carol McDowell said. “And if you’re a mom like I am, Pence is on your side. He looks after people. He can bring balance.”
McDowell said she felt more supportive of Pence than Trump, but still thought Trump was supportive of women.
“I’ve been in business, which is a man’s world, since I was 22,” McDowell said. “He seems to exemplify what I learned there, which is that if you work hard, you will be given a seat at the table.”
Indiana delegate Barbara Krisher said she thought Trump’s actions were more important than his words to women.
“He has many women in powerful positions in his company, and he treats his wife and daughter with great respect,” Krisher said. “So I don’t really care about any of the words he says.”
Many delegates from outside Indiana said they did not know much about Pence, but felt he would generally keep Trump’s comments under control.
“I know a lot of congressmen from my state who speak very highly of Pence,” Ohio delegate Sandra Barber said. “I think his Midwest influence will help Trump bring a little more sense to the campaign and a little more knowledge of the political arena.”
For Indiana delegate Pat Brown, Pence’s stance on women wasn’t the most relevant thing to focus on. As the delegation prepared for Pence to speak Wednesday night, she said she thought Pence was the smartest decision for Trump from a political standpoint.
“Whether or not you agree with his views, Mike Pence has a lot of political experience,” Brown said. “He has enough insight to keep Trump from stumbling.”