The day before the interview, Trump had announced a new maternity leave plan. Among other changes, the plan included six weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers, dependent savings accounts for low-income families, and tax deductions for stay-at-home parents. America is the only industrialized country that doesn’t have federally mandated family leave, and Republicans usually vote against any kind of mandated paid leave, so this new plan was certainly a game-changer for the presidential candidate.
As Election Day draws closer, Donald Trump has been trying to change his perception with women. Given his previous track record of derogatory sexist comments, it’s no surprise that Trump isn’t polling very well with female voters. This new policy combined with The Trump-Pence Women’s Empowerment Tour (yes, this is a real thing) is part of his latest strategy to try and draw in the female vote.
Ivanka first grabbed the nation’s attention with a surprising RNC speech about working mothers — a refreshing change from all of the racist fear-mongering. As a working mother (she’s a Trump business executive), she embodies a new kind of modern Republican woman and as an outspoken advocate for her father, Ivanka played a big role in the development of this plan.
This new policy may seem great but it’s is not perfect and it’s certainly not enough to cover up Trump’s shitty past. As a straight white woman, Ivanka’s idea of “motherhood” is limited only to the traditional definition of cis-women who give birth. These views marginalize stay-at-home dads or gay fathers who may have adopted, and there’s no mention of how this would affect trans parents either.
When reporter Prachi Gupta spoke to Ivanka, she chose not to shy away from these issues, but Gupta’s tough line of questioning garnered some, frankly, strange responses from Ivanka.
Gupta’s first question was very simple: “Hilary Clinton released [aspects of] her plan over a year ago. Why did the Trump campaign wait so long to release this policy?” Instead of some kind of explanation, Ivanka clumsily dodged the inquiry with convoluted rambling about how great the policy is.
Ivanka did clarify that yes, certain kinds of same-sex couples would be excluded. She explained that the main priority of this plan was to allow mothers time to bond with their child after giving birth. That’s kind and all, but what about gay couples? Male couples who adopt or use surrogates need “bonding time” too, and they can’t really do that when they’re unable to take some kind of leave.
Gupta then asked about one of Trump’s comments he made in 2004 in which he called pregnancy “inconvenient for business.” This is not an unusual question to ask. Trump has had a long history of degrading women over the years so many people are now wondering why his views have changed all of a sudden. Ivanka immediately grew defensive, calling Gupta’s questions full of “negativity.”
Sensing the rough patch, Gupta quickly moved on while Ivanka continued to emphasize how revolutionary this policy is. The reporter then tried to find out how this plan would be funded (another valid question to ask) when Ivanka suddenly said she had to go and the awkward interview was cut short.
This interview (whose transcript can be read here) exposes new holes in Trump’s already shaky policy plans. I get it, sometimes in interviews when you don’t know the answer you can divert the conversation to a stronger topic, but Ivanka’s question-dodging was pretty graceless and the abrupt ending doesn’t place her in a favorable light. Yes, this policy looks great on paper but, like with so many other Trump campaign promises, it doesn’t seem like this will hold up either.
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