"Today" show host Matt Lauer confronted Donald Trump over his recent comments on Hillary Clinton "playing the woman's card," asking on Thursday if he cares that most women in the US view him negatively.
Lauer suggested that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz might be trying to appeal to female voters by announcing former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate if he were to win the Republican nomination for president.
"You, on the other hand, seem to continue to say things that alienate women voters," Lauer said, citing Trump's recent comments accusing Clinton, the all-but-certain Democratic nominee, of "playing the woman's card" as she campaigns for her party's presidential nomination.
"Seventy percent of women in this country say they have a negative view of you," Lauer said, referring to a Gallup poll. "Do you even care?"
"Of course I care. Nobody respects women more than I do. And I wasn't playing the woman's card, it's true," Trump said.
I mean, she is playing the woman's card. Everything she says is about the woman's card. And, frankly, all I'm doing is bringing out the obvious. And without the woman's card, Hillary would not even be a viable person to even run for a city-council position.
Lauer asked Trump if he thought that women in the US vote based simply on gender.
"Well, I don't think they vote on gender, no. I think they vote for security, I think they vote for jobs, and that's why I'm doing so well," Trump said.
He cited exit polls showing him leading with female voters, though those surveyed only Republicans who went to the polls.
Cohost Savannah Guthrie cut in and told Trump that him saying Clinton would get only 5% of the vote if she were a man suggests that the only thing she has going for her is that she's a woman.
"Not that she was a former senator, a former secretary of state, and a lawyer," Guthrie said. "Do you understand why some people find that to be kind of a demeaning comment?"
No, I find it to be a true comment. I think that the only thing she's got going is the fact that she's a woman. She has done a terrible job in so many different ways. You look at Libya, you look at some of the things that she's done are just absolutely disasters. Now I would say the primary thing that she has going is that she's a woman and she is playing that card like I have never seen anybody play it before.
Trump is the undisputed frontrunner for the Republican nomination. Cruz and the other Republican candidate still in the race, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, won't be able to secure the nomination through state-primary contests alone.
They're both hoping for a contested convention, which could happen if no candidate reaches the necessary 1,237 delegates before July. In that case, many convention delegates would become "unbound" to Trump in later rounds of convention voting, giving Cruz or Kasich a potential boost in support.
Here's the full interview on NBC's "Today" show:
More From Business Insider