Former Republican presidential candidate and Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina knows a thing or two about sexual harassment and sexism. Like so many other women, she says she experienced both in the tech industry and on the campaign trail.
"I think women face it everywhere and it certainly wasn't better on the campaign trail," Fiorina said in an interview with Circa.
She recalled being accused of going "full vagina" by conservative commentator Steve Deace, who tweeted the comment after Fiorina's opening remarks during one of the 2016 presidential debates.
"Wow. What an unbelievable comment," she said. "But, nobody said anything."
When someone replied to Deace, tweeting that "I personally like vaginas," he answered: "Love them myself. Ask @amydeace," tagging his wife.
Although Deace later apologized for the tweet, Fiorina said she was disappointed that the radio host had "taken a serious presidential candidate and reduced her, reduced me, to my sexuality and that was just kind of considered OK."
Earlier this month, Fiorina penned a Medium post slamming lawmakers for politicizing the issue of sexual harassment and calling on men to to take a stand against such behavior.
One reason sexual harassment continues to be a problem, Fiorina said, is because men are not calling out other men who are behaving badly.
One man who mistreated her publicly now sits in the Oval Office. Then-candidate Donald Trump did receive some flak after he mocked Fiorina in a Rolling Stone interview saying "Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!"
Trump attempted an apology on the debate stage, telling Fiorina she had a beautiful face, to which Fiorina responded "I think women all over this country heard very clearly" what Trump said.
Later, in a leaked "Access Hollywood" tape, Trump was heard making lewd comments about women.
Despite the tape, and despite multiple women coming forward and accusing Trump of sexual misconduct, he still ended up in the White House. Many thought the accusations and the "locker room talk" would be the end of Trump's run for president, but Fiorina said that when it comes to sexism, there was blame on both sides of the 2016 ballot.
"One of the sad truths is that the American people were offered a choice in the November election and unfortunately if you're talking about sexism in America, well there was plenty of blame to go around. I mean, here you have Bill Clinton abusing women. He became president. You had Hillary Clinton supporting him, not believing his accusers even though it was clear that their accusations were corroborated and settlements were reached. And so, I think the American voter was given this choice of 'Wow, we've got sexism on both sides, we have corruption,' and I think voters said, 'We've got to have a change,'" she said.
Fiorina added that she fully believes the stories of the women who have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct.
"The thing I think all of us look at when women step forward is, is it more than one? Is the story consistent? What are the circumstances? Did they tell other people contemporaneously about what happened? And I think in both of those instances and virtually all the instances we're talking about now you have multiple women with consistent stories who tell others at the time. So yes, I believe them," she said.
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