Engendering enthusiasm: Ivanka, Kellyanne and Sarah Sanders join Trump at rally

In his efforts to narrow the gender gap Republicans face in Tuesday’s midterm elections — in which women voters strongly favor Democrats —  Donald Trump brought three of the top women in his administration to a rally in Fort Wayne, Ind.: senior adviser Ivanka Trump, counselor Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sarah Sanders.

“I want to introduce three people that probably you’ve heard of, and you know I just left Ohio and I said ‘I will never mention the word beautiful when referring to a woman. I’ll never do it.’ No man in this room will ever again say a woman is beautiful because it’s not politically correct,” Trump said as his crowd obliged him with a chorus of boos. “But I have a daughter who is very smart. Her name is Ivanka and she’s here.”

Citing low unemployment figures, Ivanka Trump, who spoke only briefly, said “it’s never been a better time to be an American worker.”

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President Trump's rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana
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President Trump's rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana
President Donald Trump greets his daughter Ivanka Trump at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
President Donald Trump and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders listen as White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway speaks at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Supporters wait for the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump for a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria  
President Donald Trump greets former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
A man in a Make America Great Again hat listens as US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a Make America Great Again rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana on November 5, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a rally at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Fort Wayne, Ind. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway speaks at a campaign rally featuring President Donald Trump at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
President Donald Trump greets Senate candidate Mike Braun at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
President Donald Trump and White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway listen as press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
President Donald Trump listens as his daughter Ivanka Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
President Donald Trump and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders listen to a speech at a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Signs are shown during a campaign rally featuring President Donald Trump at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
James Crockett, 10, holds a mask of President Donald Trump as another supporter holds a mask of first lady Melania Trump as President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Fort Wayne, Ind.. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Supporter cheer for President Donald Trump at a rally at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Fort Wayne, Ind. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
FORT WAYNE, IN - NOVEMBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally for Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun at the County War Memorial Coliseum November 5, 2018 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Braun is facing first-term Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in tomorrow's midterm election. Trump is campaigning nationwide in an effort to bolster GOP prospects. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
FORT WAYNE, IN - NOVEMBER 05: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally for Republican Senate candidate Mike Braun at the County War Memorial Coliseum November 5, 2018 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Braun is facing first-term Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) in tomorrow's midterm election. Trump is campaigning nationwide in an effort to bolster GOP prospects. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) looks on as White House Press Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks and Kellyanne Conway cheers at a Make America Great Again rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana on November 5, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters cheer as US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a Make America Great Again rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana on November 5, 2018. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria  
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks as White House counselor Kellyanne Conway looks on during a campaign rally at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria  
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The president then brought Conway and Sanders to the stage, to cheers from the crowd.

“You’ll have to forgive Kellyanne and I, we’re maybe a little speechless. We’re not used to friendly crowds,” Sanders said, before tailoring her message to a specific demographic.

“A lot of people know me in my official capacity and it’s one of the greatest honors of my life to serve in your administration and one of the most important jobs I’ll ever have,” Sanders said. “But the greatest job that I’ll ever have and the greatest title I’ll ever have is that of a mom. And that’s why I work for this president, because I care about my kids’ future and I care about the future of our country and I want someone who I know will protect their future.”

In recent weeks, Trump has increasingly attempted to frame the midterm elections as about “security,” portraying the approaching Central American migrant caravan as an issue important to women voters.

“Women all across the nation are going to show up and vote Republican on Tuesday. They want security. They want safety,” Trump said at a Friday rally in West Virginia. “They don’t want to have these people coming in. They don’t want to have … some of these people are just horrible people. You have to see the crimes they’ve committed.”

On Monday, Trump turned the appeal to women voters over to his daughter, Sanders and Conway. Despite Trump’s efforts to stir up enthusiasm for Republican Mike Braun, who is facing incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in a much-watched battle for U.S. Senate, Conway elicited a better response from the crowd.

“I love me some Hoosiers,” Conway said during her turn at the mic. “So let me just say in my personal capacity, because this election is very personal to me, Joe [Donnelly] must go!”

That sent the audience into a prolonged chant of “Joe must go!” that left the president grinning from ear to ear.

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