Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has a mixed history with women, with crude remarks mixed with efforts to foster the career of female employees, The New York Times reported.
The thrice-married Trump, 69, cultivated an image as a womanizer ever since he was in an all-male military school in the 1960s, where he was dubbed a "ladies' man," the Times reported Saturday.
Critics portray Trump as a misogynist, seeing proof in incidents such as his feud with actress Rosie O'Donnell -- whom he disparaged as a "fat pig" -- and his suggestions that former presidential rival Carly Fiorina's face made her unelectable.
But the Times, in more than 50 interviews with women associated with Trump over the past four decades, shows a more complex and contradictory image.
There were unwelcome advances on women and plenty of crude commentary on female bodies, the Times reported.
But Trump also nurtured the careers of several women within his business organization.
Trump has long been in the public eye as a celebrity real estate mogul, the star of a popular reality TV show, and until recently the man behind Miss Universe and other beauty pageants.
One Miss USA contestant said that in 1997 Trump, who was married to actress Marla Maples at the time, introduced himself and kissed her and other contestants on the lips.
However Trump also hired Barbara Res as his head of construction in the 1980s, at a time when there were few women in such positions at major construction firms.
She said that her boss wanted her to be a 'Donna Trump.'
"I know you're a woman in a man's world. And while men tend to be better than women, a good woman is better than 10 good men," she recalls him saying.
Years later, Trump told her "You like your candy," Res told the Times. "It was him reminding me that I was overweight."
Res worked with Trump for 18 years.
"The respect for women was always there," Alan Lapidus, an architect who designed the Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City, told the Times. "When he was building his empire, the backbone was women."
Trump told the Times that he was proud of his record of hiring and promoting women.
"I have always treated women with great respect. And women will tell you that."
He brushed off the unflattering allegations. "A lot of things get made up over the years," he told the newspaper.
On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to blast the article.
"The failing @nytimes wrote yet another hit piece on me. All are impressed with how nicely I have treated women, they found nothing. A joke!" read one tweet.
"Why doesn't the failing @nytimes write the real story on the Clintons and women? The media is TOTALLY dishonest!" read another.
One former female Trump executive, Louise Sunshine, had glowing words for her ex-boss on CNN on Sunday.
"He was never a boss. He was a leader," Sunshine told CNN. "He taught me. He mentored me."
Sunshine, who worked for Trump for a decade, said that she considered the experience "the greatest opportunity probably that I would ever have in my lifetime."
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