Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is ramping up his outreach to women by releasing a blueprint outlining how his campaign believes President Donald Trump has failed them and marshaling high-profile women, including some Republicans, to help make the case.
Biden’s campaign will also mark Women’s Equality Day on Wednesday — the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment — with vice presidential pick U.S. Senator Kamala Harris’ launch of a nationwide “Sister to Sister” voter engagement program for Black women.
Republican women such as Christine Todd Whitman, a former governor of New Jersey who served in the George W. Bush administration, and Susan Molinari, a former U.S. House of Representatives member from New York, are also on board to make the case to more conservative women. Both said they were prepared to help in any way that they could.
In the blueprint, titled “Trump has failed American women,” Biden slams Trump for disbanding the White House Council on Women and Girls. Valerie Jarrett, who co-chaired the council during the Obama administration, will play a role in Biden’s outreach.
“It ensured that every department and agency in the federal government looked at their policies, programs and initiatives through the gender lens and asked themselves the question: are the policies, programs and initiatives supportive of women and girls?” Jarrett said in an interview, adding that it came to an “abrupt halt” when Trump took office.
Biden has pledged to create a new White House Council on Gender Equity if elected in November. Jarrett said the new council would allow the White House to “resume that important work.”
Biden’s campaign also says Trump’s efforts to weaken the Affordable Care Act have endangered women with pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy; criticizes the Trump administration for continuing to collect pay disparity data from medium and large employers only under court order; and denounced Trump’s Department of Education for rolling back Obama-era policies intended to ensure more rigorous investigations of campus sexual assault.
The blueprint is the latest in a series that Biden’s campaign is releasing evaluating Trump administration policies and their effects on specific constituencies. A report earlier in the week examined the Trump presidency’s impact on young Americans.
“He has failed women in so many ways,” Whitman said of Trump. “The fact that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are emphasizing what they would do, I think, shows the huge gap between the two campaigns.”
In addition to creating the White House Council on Gender Equity, Biden pledges in the document to provide universal preschool education and improve women’s economic security by working with Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would punish employers for retaliating against workers who share salary information and allow workers to sue for punitive damages in wage discrimination cases, among other provisions.
The Biden and Trump campaigns both know that women’s support is critical to their chances for success. In 2016, Trump split the vote of White women nearly evenly with Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won women overall by roughly a 15-point margin. Polls show that women are more likely than men to reconsider their support for Trump and that a potentially historic gender gap is opening ahead of November.
Molinari said Trump’s focus on wooing “suburban housewives” with law-and-order rhetoric is a “patent diminution of who we are and what we are concerned about.”
“We know that women may be the deciding vote in some key states,” Molinari said. “And all we want to do is say to Republicans and independents who have concerns about voting for a Democrat for the first time: it’s okay, it will work out. This is a man who has always treated individuals with kindness, respect and courage.”