In the final months of an election campaign rife with accusations of sexism, Donald Trump is set to address a key women's issue Tuesday night.
In a scheduled campaign speech in Aston, PA, where he will be introduced by his daughter Ivanka, Trump is expected to outline a new policy on child care and maternity leave. The plan, which according to The Washington Post includes six weeks of mandated paid maternity leave, is said to come at the urging of his daughter, a prominent member of the Trump campaign.
Speaking at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July, Ivanka Trump emphasized that her father would fight for women’s issues, including child care.
"As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce," she said. "And he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all."
According to Department of Labor statistics from 2013, the most recent year for which data was available, 70% of mothers with children under 18 worked outside the home, with the mother being the primary breadwinner in 38% of married-couple families. Overall, about 72 million women, or 58.6% of women over age 16, were in the American workforce.
However, only about 60% of them were guaranteed any kind of leave, paid or not. As of 2012, the Family and Medical Leave Act guaranteed only 59% of private sector workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for issues including pregnancy. Employers with less than 50 workers are exempt from the FLMA, as well as workers who had been with an employer for less than a year.
In his economic plan, introduced in August, Trump proposed making child-care expenses tax-deductible, "capped at the amount of average care costs" in the family’s state of residence. On Tuesday night, he is expected to elaborate on that, including specific steps for families to offset the costs of child care.
Despite this new push, Trump's past statements reveal a very different set of beliefs when it comes to supporting working women.
Trump thinks pregnancy is an "inconvenience."
In May, Trump drew criticism for a 2004 interview in which he called pregnancy an “inconvenience” to employers. "[It's] a wonderful thing for the woman, it's a wonderful thing for the husband, it's certainly an inconvenience for a business," he told Dateline NBC.
He called a woman who needed to pump breast milk "disgusting."
He also made headlines for his outrage at a lawyer, Elizabeth Beck, who requested a pause during a deposition in 2011 so she could pump breast milk. Beck, who represented clients in a lawsuit against Trump over a failed real estate project, told CNN last July that Trump had called her "disgusting" and refused to allow a prescheduled break in which she had planned to pump. Trump's attorney, who was present for the deposition, confirmed it.
He has different standards for the women in his life.
In his personal life, Trump has made mixed statements regarding working women. Though he openly takes pride in his daughter Ivanka's business acumen and success, he also insinuated that her mother Ivana's business ambition was a factor in their divorce, saying in his book, The Art of the Comeback, that he "began to realize that [he] was married to a businessperson rather than a wife."
The women around him have taken notably short maternity leaves.
In the same segment in which Trump called pregnancy an "inconvenience," his former employee Carolyn Kepcher told Dateline NBC that she had hesitated to tell her boss about her condition over concerns about her career. "Maybe in my mind he might think this would perhaps be a setback," she said. Kepcher took three weeks off before coming back part-time. And his daughter Ivanka, a nominal champion of maternity leave, was back on the Trump campaign trail less than two weeks after giving birth to her third child.
He doesn't seem to support an involved fatherhood.
Only his various wives know what he's like as a husband, but by his own account, Trump doesn't seem inclined to take on the more tedious aspects of parenting. In a 2005 interview on The Howard Stern Show shared by BuzzFeed, Trump said that his job was just to pay for things. "I won't do anything to take care of them. I'll supply the funds and she'll take care of the kids, right?" he said. "It's not like I'm going to be walking the kids down Central Park." He also told the radio show hosts Opie and Anthony that he didn't change diapers, and that men who did were "[acting] like the wife."