Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was not at Monday's No Labels convention in Manchester, N.H., but Donald Trump and conservative news outlets are accusing him of sending a paid 18-year-old intern to the event to corner him with questions on women's rights.
The woman, 18-year-old Lauren Batchelder
of Chester, N.H., was one of many asking Trump questions at the event, but hers stood out because of the nature of the questions, his answer to them, and her attitude while asking them.
First the woman, who was later identified by the Burlington Free Press
, told Trump "I don't think you're a friend to women," and then asked, "If you become president, will a woman make the same as a man, and do I get to choose what I do with my body?"
Bush's campaign on Tuesday confirmed that the woman is an unpaid volunteer with the campaign, but that her question was not sanctioned by the campaign.
Trump stood his ground, after Batchelder asked her questions, telling her that he is "pro-life," that he '"cherishes" women and he'd guarantee equal pay "if you do equal work."
After the Free Press identified her as Batchelder, Trump campaign adviser Daniel Scavino went on Twitter to accuse the Bush campaign of planting her at the event:
Bush campaign Communications Director Tim Miller, Tuesday confirmed that Batchelder has volunteered for the campaign, but said she is not a paid staffer, the campaign did not approve her question, and it did not send her to the event, "but the Jeb staff is amused" by Trump's reaction when challenged by women:
The Bush campaign also responded to the news, denying that Batchelder was at the event because of her connection with him, reports Talking Points Memo
"Like many in New Hampshire, Lauren is a student at St. Anselm's who is passionate about and active in politics and attended this event on her own accord," the statement said.
"While this question was not sanctioned by the campaign, we can't help but notice Mr. Trump does seem to be very sensitive about being challenged by women."
Trump, though, slammed the Bush campaign for Batchelder's appearance at the event:
Trump also tweeted a link to The Conservative Treehouse
, the website where he'd gotten that information.
"Ms. Batchelder is not just an average audience member," the website said, pointing to a tweet she had posted. "She's a paid political operative of the GOP and a paid staff member of Team Jeb Bush."
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