Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said a lot of things about women. But where does he stand on equal pay?
Though the exact numbers differ, American women make significantly less money than their male counterparts. The Pew Research Center found in July that women earn, on average, only 83 cents for every dollar earned by a white man. For women of color, the gap is even worse.
Trump’s official stances, as published on his campaign website, are noticeably devoid of any specifics on women’s issues, including equal pay. His recently released economic plan contains a push to make child-care costs tax-exempt, but doesn’t mention the wage gap.
But official stance or no, Trump’s said — and done — many things over the years to indicate his approach to equal pay. Here’s what to know about the Republican candidate’s stances on the wage gap. And if you're curious what his opponent Hillary Clinton has to say, you can find her stances here.
He’s said that, though he supports equal pay in principle, he’s hesitant to implement policies on a national level.In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe in August of last year, Trump said that he supported equal pay for equal work. "If they do the same job, they should get the same pay," he said, according to The Hill. But he also waffled on the specifics of that statement, adding that, “It’s very hard to say what is the same job.”
“When you have to categorize men and women into a particular group and a particular pay scale, it gets very — because people do different jobs,” he said.
He’s said that, overall, he supports pay based on merit, not gender. “You can have a woman that’s much better than a man; you can have a woman that’s not as good as a man,” he said in an interview with Channel 13 in Des Moines, IA, in 2015. “If you start to say everybody gets equal pay, you get away from the whole American Dream,” he said, calling it a descent into socialism.
He once boasted that he paid ex-wife Ivana Trump an annual salary of $1 and “all the dresses she can buy.”Trump’s marriage to first wife Ivana Trump was, in many ways, a business partnership in addition to a marriage. For years, the original Mrs. Trump was the CEO of multiple Trump-branded hotels — as well, she took charge of the interior decor of many of the Trump properties. But by Trump’s own account, his wife was minimally compensated for her work for the business. “My wife, Ivana, is a brilliant manager. I will pay her $1 a year and all the dresses she can buy,” he said when he named her president of the Plaza Hotel, Vanity Fair reported during the couple’s 1990 divorce.
In divorce documents, Ivana Trump reportedly said that she never thought about compensation, according to CNN. "In the marriage, in my understanding of the marriage, you are partner in anything [that] you do with your husband, and if it is in marital or business-wise, you are partners," she said.
Women who have worked for him have spoken in support of his mentorship — including pay equality.Former Trump Organization executive Barbara Res, who worked for Trump for over a decade, has spoken out in defense of the candidate’s behavior towards women. In a March interview with Rolling Stone, she said that she believes she wasn’t paid the same as her male colleagues, but doesn’t attribute it to her gender. “Everybody else was a lawyer, practically…I think he paid the lawyers a little more than he paid me, but I can't say that I think he discriminated against me because I was a woman,” she said. “He wasn’t like that.”
Trump said in a CNN interview in 2015 that he “absolutely” paid his female employees the same as men, and that he was a leader in promoting women in leadership positions. “I have women that get paid a lot of money. I pay them more,” he said.
His campaign is accused of paying women less.One of Trump’s former staffers filed a discrimination complaint against the campaign in January of this year, alleging that men employed as field organizers were paid more and given choicier assignments than the women were. Elizabeth Mae Davidson, who had been the campaign’s field organizer for Davenport, IA, said that male organizers were allowed to plan and speak at rallies, but her requests to do the same were dismissed, The New York Times reported at the time.
Davidson accused the campaign of paying her about half of what male organizers were paid, despite similar circumstances and her own good work, and firing her for speaking to news reporters even though male employees did the same with impunity. The Trump campaign said that she was fired for poor performance. “[She] did a terrible job,” Trump told The Times.
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