Trump surrogate in Iowa compares him to Mother Teresa for what, she says, he's done for women

By Adam Brewster

/ CBS News

A top surrogate for President Trump, who holds a senior campaign position in Iowa, said Wednesday night that the president has done more for women than anyone else she could think of besides Mother Teresa.

"There's not a person alive that literally has done so much for a female, for the female population," said Tana Goertz, Trump Team Coordinator in Iowa. "I can't think of one person that I could go, except for Mother Teresa. I mean, literally, who has done more for women in office than Donald Trump?"

Goertz's comments to reporters came when she was asked by CBS News what her message would be to women who may have voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 and for Democratic Congresswoman Cindy Axne in 2018. Axne, a freshman congresswoman from Iowa's 3rd District, won partly due to support from suburban women. Goertz said it wasn't completely fair to compare the two races.

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"If Donald Trump was running, we would have never lost anything," Goertz said. "There's different candidates running that don't have the power that Donald Trump has, and the pull."

"There's not a person alive that literally has done so much for a female, for the female population. I can't think of one person that I could go, except for Mother Theresa. I mean, literally, who has done more for women in office than Donald Trump?" Goertz went on to say. pic.twitter.com/ox91N5UaYY

— Adam Brewster (@adam_brew) August 23, 2019

Goertz, who also serves as an advisory board member for the Women for Trump Coalition, worked on the 2016 Trump campaign and was a contestant on season three of "The Apprentice." She helped lead a Women for Trump event in West Des Moines that was aimed at training female volunteers as organizers. Thirteen similar events were held in 12 other states.

Mr. Trump won Iowa in 2016, but lost the female vote to Hillary Clinton 51% to 44%, according to CBS News exit polls. Nationally, Clinton won the female vote 54% to 42%.

A CBS News Poll last month found that 42% of women think President Trump is doing a "very good" or "somewhat good" job. Fifty-eight percent of female respondents said he is doing a "very bad" or "somewhat bad" job.

Part of Goertz's message Wednesday night was to "empower" women to be outspoken with friends and neighbors about why they are supporting the president. She said some people are afraid to speak up because they're afraid of being criticized.

"The reason why a lot of women are afraid to support this great man is because of the backlash," Goertz told reporters. "I know that I've had a lot of backlash, but I'm telling you, I can handle it. And so I wanted them to realize that if you back down, then they win."

"By no means do I feel like we're going to lose it if women don't start speaking up, but it can just be that much bigger of a landslide if they start speaking up," she added.

Goertz said the top issues for women in Iowa who support the president are immigration, security and the economy.

Cathy Ballard, a retired special education teacher from Guthrie Center, said she's supporting Mr. Trump in 2020 because of the economy.

"I think the president is doing more for our country than the previous ones," Ballard said. "I like it that we're putting people back to work. I think that's awesome."

First published on August 23, 2019 / 2:16 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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