Over the years, Mr. Trump has defended himself by pointing to women like Louise Sunshine and Barbara Res, whom he promoted to top management jobs at the Trump Organization. Women in his administration have defended him by pointing to themselves.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior White House adviser, has talked about her own experience growing up, noting that her father treated her as an equal to her two brothers. “There was no difference,” she has said.
Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor, has noted that after a long career as a pollster in Republican politics, it was only Mr. Trump who elevated her to the position of campaign manager in 2016.
While it is true that a number of women held prominent jobs at the Trump Organization, and in his White House, former associates said the playing field to get there wasn’t always even. “When I promoted a man to a vice president position, he would automatically go on the operating committee,” Mr. O’Donnell said. “When I promoted a woman to a vice president position, I had to get approval to get her on the operating committee.”
Mr. Trump’s double-down philosophy means that he is unlikely to abandon someone over criticism. Mr. Moore told Fox News on Friday that the president “has been fully supportive of me, 100 percent” and has made it clear that “he doesn’t want me to back down.”
But Mr. Moore said he would withdraw from consideration if he became a liability to the Republican Party, and even some conservative supporters say his checkered personal history and lack of professional credibility make his nomination a fight not worth having for the White House.
So far, no Republican senators have said publicly that they would oppose Mr. Moore’s confirmation if Mr. Trump nominates him. Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, declined to comment on Mr. Moore. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, who has previously said she would vote against Mr. Cain before he pulled his name from contention, said she wanted to know more about Mr. Moore’s specific policies.