By Emily B. Cyr
This past Wednesday, the Republican presidential candidates gathered at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California for the second showdown of the 2016 election cycle. The primetime debate had a similar lineup to the first debate in August but with one key addition: Carly Fiorina.
If you have not been keeping up with the 2016 presidential candidates (which is understandable, it is only 2015 and already exhausting), Carly Fiorina is the only other female presidential candidate aside from Hillary Clinton and thus the sole female in the Republican field of 16, originally 17 (Rick Perry has dropped out of the race ). In this three hour debate, where she was surrounded by the likes of Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, Fiorina was the star of the night. She was strong on foreign policy, delivered a passionate speech against drugs and defended her business record. However, not all topics she had to discuss were as relevant to the presidency as those.
Despite the fact Carly Fiorina is the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, the first woman ever to be named the most powerful woman in business by Fortune magazine and holds degrees from Stanford, Maryland and MIT, Donald Trump chose to comment on something else: her looks. I like to think Trump feels threatened by such an intelligent, ambitious woman that he had to resort to immature tactics, but whatever his reason, he told Rolling Stone that he thought she didn’t have the face of a president.
Fiorina, who could have chastised Trump for his insensitivity or demanded an apology, instead, responded coolly, “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.” Her response received huge applause, and rightfully so. Fiorina presented herself as a self-assured woman who had no time for frivolous things in her campaign. And as impressive Fiorina was with her words, she appeared even tougher when she remained silent during Trump’s apology. Fiorina did not change her expression, and did not even look in his direction. She clearly did not need Donald Trump to tell her she is pretty, and really, who does?
Through her stage presence and body language, Fiorina was able to stand tall despite being the shortest candidate on the stage. In a chaotic atmosphere, with comments like these, Fiorina stayed composed and focused on who really mattered: the voters. As the other candidates pointed fingers and interrupted the moderators, Fiorina acted, quite frankly, like a lady. She was graceful and eloquent, and took everything that came at her in stride. She only ever addressed the moderators and audience, never getting caught in the immature back and forth of the other candidates. Oh, and did I mention, she did the whole thing in heels?
There is clearly still a long road ahead, both for the 2016 election and for women in politics, but Carly Fiorina has us given us someone to admire and someone to look forward to hearing. And who knows, maybe the final face off will be Fiorina vs. Clinton, no boys allowed!
* All views expressed are of the author. GUWIL takes no political stances and does not endorse any candidate.