"I think it's important to open up all roles to women, but I also agree with Secretary Carter that you have to have standards and women and men have to meet those standards because we're talking literally life or death… I am a huge supporter of women being able to break whatever glass ceilings are holding them back… Physically, mentally, you have to be prepared and you have to be ready. And I think that, you're right, not every woman is going to want to do that [serve in combat roles] and some women what want to do it are not going to qualify but we just had a few women pass Ranger school, which is an enormously competitive, grueling experience. It was just less than a handful but they proved they could do it and, from everything I know, nobody cut any slack for them. They did it. And, in fact, after it was over, they interviewed some of the, you know, male competitors to go through Ranger school and these guys said, 'you know, after a while, I didn’t even notice. I mean, yeah, you’re right, she was a woman. She carried her weight. She pulled her own.' That’s what you want."
Source: NBC News, "Clinton on the Role of Women in Combat," nbcnews.com, Jan. 5, 2016
"[Interviewer:] Women in the military… Now the Pentagon has opened up all combat to women. What do you think?
[Donald Trump:] Well, it's a very tricky subject. You're in there and you're fighting and you're sitting next to a woman and. Now they want to be politically correct. They want to do it but there are major problems. And, as you know, there are many people that think this shouldn't be done, at a high level, at a level of general. I think that it's a very tricky situation but on Fox today they had a woman who is a pilot, top level, very good, really indicating that this is really something that is not going to work out. Will it work out? I hope so. I can say this, the numbers of rapes in the military are through the roof. Through the roof."
Source: CBS News, "Trump: There Are 'Major Problems' with Women in the Military," cbsnews.com, Dec. 6, 2015
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear below in black and white and in alphabetical order.)
"If women are capable of being in combat roles then they should be permitted… I think some of them have demonstrated an incredible capacity to be able to serve as aggressively as men, and so I think that makes a lot of sense."
Source: Ben Kamisar, "Kasich: Women in Combat 'Makes a Lot of Sense,'" thehill.com, Dec. 4, 2015
"Women are capable of doing incredible things, I'm the father of two young daughters, who I think can accomplish whatever they set their hearts desire to, but I also think when it comes to the military that we shouldn't be governed by political correctness... I don't think we ought to be forcibly drafting women, particularly putting them in a position where they are in combat. I don't think that makes sense, I don't think it's beneficial to the military...
If you're looking at close combat, if you're dealing with a 200 pound Jihadist, the idea that we will forcibly take our daughters and put them in a position where they could be in close combat, I don't think that makes sense, and it's not recognizing the realities of combat. You know the Marines recently did studies on this putting women in that position and it ended up increasing causalities both among the women and the men, it decreases military effectiveness, and the job of our war fighters is to defeat the enemy, it's not to be this cauldron for social experiments or social correctness, it is to keep America safe."
Source: Fox News, "Ted Cruz Talks Women in Combat, Abortion and Hispanic Voters," video.foxnews.com, Feb. 24, 2016
"The Pentagon is opening more combat positions up to women. But the Marines have fitness tests for combat that require men to be able to do at least three pull-ups. Because they consider women to have less upper body strength, women didn't have to do the pull-ups. But starting in 2014, they will. And a study of over 300 female Marines found that only 21 percent could do at least three pull-ups. Already last summer, two female Marines who enrolled in the Marine Corps' grueling Infantry Officer Course washed out. So far, no more women have volunteered.
So the ACLU is suing for full gender equality in all combat roles. But in reality, the only ways to achieve full equality are either to lower the strength requirements for all Marines or to make unequal exceptions for women. Something tells me none of their legal arguments will matter much to a soldier who gets shot in combat and needs his comrade to carry him to safety. All he'll know is that no ACLU lawyers are going to be around to help with the heavy lifting."
Source: Mike Huckabee, Facebook post, facebook.com, Nov. 29, 2012
"You make decisions based on evidence and not on ideology, so yes I would be willing to sit down with people from both sides and examine the evidence. And make decisions [about women in combat roles] based on what the evidence shows."
Source: Eliza Collins, "Carson Open to Reconsidering Ban on Women in Combat," politico.com, Jan. 4, 2016
"As women play an increasingly critical role in our military operations, we have an obligation to honor their service and sacrifice when they return home and to help their transition to civilian life."
Source: Bernie Sanders, "Sanders Welcomes DAV Report on Women Veterans," sanders.senate.gov, Sep. 24, 2014