Kellyanne Conway, the new campaign manager for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, said in January 2013 that "rape would not exist" if women were as strong as men (video below).
Conway made her statement in a panel appearance on the PBS show "To the Contrary," where she voiced her opposition to women serving in combat, CNN reports. The Democratic Coalition Against Trump, a super PAC (political action committee), originally flagged the clip.
"Women are already making incredible contributions to the United Sates military, and will continue to do so," Conway, then a Republican pollster, said at the time. "But the military’s first and primary mission is to win wars, and to be completely as capable and as efficient and uber-ready as it can be. We also don’t want to put our women in harm’s way."
PBS host Bonnie Erbe moved the topic to the military's physical fitness requirements for men and women, which prompted Conway to make her controversial statement about rape:
Now, if you are suggesting that physical fitness experts say it’s different, I’ll accept that, Bonnie. Except to say that we should not have the girl’s version and the boy’s version of that physical fitness test.
I want the best prepared military, regardless of gender. But I’ll tell you if physical fitness, if we were physiologically -- not mentally, emotionally, professionally -- equal to men, if we were physiologically as strong as men, rape would not exist. You would be able to defend yourself and fight him off.
CNN asked Conway for a clarification of her 2013 remarks, but she did not respond.
In January 2013, Conway advised Republicans to stop taking about rape, which she called a "four-letter word," after some GOP candidates received bad publicity on the topic, noted Politico.
Former Republican Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri asserted that women's bodies could somehow prevent a pregnancy after a "legitimate rape," while Republican Sen. candidate Richard Mourdock of Indiana called babies resulting from rape a "gift from God," and Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia said Akin was "partly right" about his scientifically false theory.