Paul Manafort explains to Chris Matthews why women will vote for Trump: "Their husbands can't afford to be paying for the family bills"

Trump's campaign manager left the MSNBC host shocked: "You heard what you just said, didn’t you?"

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published July 22, 2016 1:24AM (EDT)


During the final night of the Republican National Convention, MSNBC host Chris Matthews managed to rope the Trump campaign into admitting a manifestly absurd position that offends a significant swath of the voting base.

During a March town hall hosted by Matthews, Trump suggested that “there has to be some form of punishment” for abortions under a potential Trump presidency wherein Roe v. Wade is overturned.

“For the woman?” Matthews pushed Trump.

“Yeah,” he replied.

Months later, Matthews is still getting the Trump campaign to further alienate women voters with a simple set of questions.

Matthews asked Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort how the campaign "deal[s] with the problem" that "whenever a man, you’re a man, or Trump, who is a man,  criticizes Hillary Clinton, they hear male criticizing woman," during an interview Thursday.

"It depends which women you are talking about," Manafort said. "Many women feel they can't afford their lives, their husbands can't afford to be paying for the family bills. Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They will hear the message. As they hear the message, that's how we will appeal to them."

Manafort's response was apparently so startling to Matthews that he tossed him a mulligan.

"You heard what you just said didn’t you? You said women are concerned about their husband's income?"

"I can speak personally to that," Manafort earnestly offered.

In another interview inside Quicken Loans Arena Thursday night, Manafort suggested to CNN that the FBI simply cannot be trusted on crime statistics because the agency failed to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton.

"How can the Republicans make the argument that somehow it's more dangerous today when the facts don't back that up?" anchor Jake Tapper asked, noting the convention's striking focus on the myth of rising crime rates.

"According to FBI statistics, crime rates have been going down for decades," Tapper pointed out to Manafort.

"I'm not sure what statistics that you're talking about," Trump's campaign manager told Tapper, forcing the host to again cite the FBI statistics.

"Well, the FBI is certainly suspect these days after what they did with Hillary Clinton," he said with a shrug.

By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia Tesfaye