Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > News

This New Hampshire Senator Called Donald Trump a Role Model, Then Tried to Take it Back

No matter how you slice this election season, there is no way Donald Trump comes out looking like a role model. Not in terms of business, feminism, peace or politics—not even in beauty (that coiff and ultra light under eye concealer…not a good look). Trump is just not someone you’d want to emulate, period. But when Sen. Kelly Ayotte was asked whether or not she would call Trump a role model, she said, “Absolutely, I would do that.”

Sen. Ayotte (R) of New Hampshire was appearing in a televised debate with New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) at the time of the quote. Governor Hassan is challenging the incumbent Senator for her Senate seat. During the debate, the Senator was asked by the moderator whether or not she would qualify Trump as a role model for her children. Sen. Ayotte, who describes herself as a moderate Republican, responded with, “… I think that there are certainly many role models that we have and I absolutely believe he could serve as President, so absolutely I would do that.”

However, when pressed on why she hadn’t endorsed Trump if she thought so highly of him, the Senator cited her disagreements with the candidate. “… I’ve had some disagreements with him and I’ve been quite clear about those disagreements.” She then used the opportunity to fire back at her opponent, accusing Gov. Hassan of being in “lockstep” with Secretary Clinton by not openly voicing her concerns or critiquing her in public. 

However, Sen. Ayotte could not escape the wrath and confusion of the voters, despite her attempt to cover the statement with an attack. Social media lit up with with Tweets questioning the judgement of the Senator, asking why she would call anyone a role model who constantly treats people with disrespect.

In a statement hours later, the Senator retracted her words, stating she had misspoken earlier in the debate: “I misspoke earlier tonight. While I hope all of our children would aspire to be president, neither Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton have set a good example and I wouldn’t hold up either of them as role models for my kids.”

Gov. Hassan pounced on the retraction and accused the Senator of playing politics by trying to create distance from the polarizing nominee. Social media didn’t let up either, with Tweets calling the Senator “spineless” and “full of it.”

Sen. Ayotte is the only Senator in her region to support the Republican nominee, and, by all accounts, the fight for her seat is extremely competitive. So we’ll see how this turns out for her.

Dream McClinton is a graduate (!) of Georgia State University with a degree in Journalism with a concentration in Telecommunication. Her interests include creating visual art (of all types), watching reality television and traveling. She hopes to soon acquire enough money to pay off her student loans and build a life she loves.