The Buzz

THE BUZZ: S.C. GOP women weigh in on The Donald

Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington stands near Sen. Tom Corbin, R-Greenville, in session. 2/17/15
Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington stands near Sen. Tom Corbin, R-Greenville, in session. 2/17/15

South Carolina’s lone female state senator heard Donald Trump cut off Megyn Kelly, while the Fox News host was questioning the business mogul about his name-calling of women.

And, added state Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington, Trump’s supporters should be embarrassed by the way the GOP’s leading presidential candidate talks about women.

During the debate, Trump insisted he had insulted only one woman — “only Rosie O’Donnell.”

“No,” Kelly replied, asking Trump about his Tweets about the appearance of other women and how he would respond to potential charges from Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign that he is a part of the GOP’s war on women.

Trump responded he does not have time for political correctness. He also said he had been nice to Kelly but that could change, based on how she has treated him.

A few days after the debate, Trump made headlines again, saying Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” when she was questioning him.

Some saw that statement as a reference to Kelly having her period. Trump has denied that is what he meant.

But Lexington’s Shealy said Trump talks down to women.

“In South Carolina, we have way too much of that,” she said. “It’s insulting to everybody to listen to that.”

During the last legislative session, Shealy made headlines after state Sen. Tom Corbin, R-Greenville, made a comment to her at a dinner that women are inferior because they are a “lesser cut of meat.”

Corbin apologized on the Senate floor.

Shealy said she is not fond of Trump. She doesn’t like the way he talks to other candidates and belittles people in general.

“Just because you have money doesn’t mean you get to talk to people that way,” Shealy said, adding female voters should be insulted at the things Trump says.

But Kelly Payne, who has volunteered for Trump’s S.C. campaign, said Kelly’s questions were a “full-throttle attack on Trump.”

“Journalists have a responsibility to interact positively with all the candidates,” Payne said, adding Kelly’s debate questions came across as agitated and aggressive.

Payne, who ran and lost in the 2010 Republican primary for superintendent of education, said Trump’s blood comment was a non-issue. She said she understood what he meant, adding it was colloquial.

State Rep. Phyllis Henderson, R-Greenville, said Trump is popular with some GOP voters because he’s making fun of the political system. “He’s saying these bombastic things that are just so ridiculous.”

But Trump has taken a hit in post-debate polls, said Henderson, who is co-chairing Carly Fiorina’s S.C. Republican presidential campaign.

(Trump, for the record, is not impressed with Fiorina either. “I just realized that if you listen to Carly Fiorina for more than 10 minutes straight, you develop a massive headache. She has zero chance!” he wrote last Sunday.)

Trump was supported by 17 percent of 651 likely Republican primary voters in a GOP-leaning Rasmussen Poll released last week. That’s down from 26 percent in late July.

As a woman in politics, Henderson said she cannot be overly sensitive.

“We have to have a thicker skin,” the state representative said, adding, “Not that there is any excuse for what he said. It was not right.”

State Rep. Rita Allison, R-Spartanburg, the first woman in more than a decade elected to chair a major S.C. House committee, said Trump has hit a nerve with some voters.

Trump’s actions are his theatrical way of doing things, Allison added.

“Some people can whisper and get attention,” she said. “Some people have to be much more outgoing and boisterous.”

2016 in S.C.

▪  U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who is running for the Democratic nomination, will make his first S.C. visit this week since announcing his presidential bid. Sanders will travel to Columbia and Greenville on Friday before stopping Saturday in Sumter and Charleston.

▪  Former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will headline a veterans-and-military-themed town-hall meeting Monday in Columbia.

▪  Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich will file Monday in Columbia so he can run in the S.C. GOP primary before heading to a security forum in Myrtle Beach.

▪  Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will attend a town-hall meeting hosted by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-N. Charleston, Thursday in Spartanburg.

Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657.