Kerry Washington Gets Real About Donald Trump & Maternity Leave

Photo: Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock
Kerry Washington has spent enough time as Washington, D.C., fixer-in-chief Olivia Pope to know political spin when she sees it. When the always-articulate Scandal star stopped by Real Time with Bill Maher last night to talk about all things election, she did not hesitate to call out Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for his bullying, questionable maternity leave policy, and slight-of-hand attempts to appear more female-friendly than he actually is. At one point, Washington went so far as to tell Maher, "Voting for Trump is voting against ourselves." Ivanka Trump may have spent the bulk of her father’s campaign at the podium attempting to sell him to women and millennials, but Washington warns us not to be swayed by appearances alone. "I think it's important that we not be distracted by these very smart, very articulate, beautiful women who work on the Trump campaign who are a lot smarter than the candidate," she said. "They will not have their finger on the button, he will." As for Trump's recently announced maternity leave plan, well, Washington is here to tell you that it is "logistically inept" and leaves out quite a few crucial factors. "There's been a lot of talk about it being insulting to women, but I think it's actually insulting to families and to workers, because there's no paternity leave, there's no family leave," she said. Washington then pointed out that with Hillary Clinton's maternity policy, "These issues are not about women's policy, they're about economic policy, because we understand in this country that if families are able to take care of each other, we do better as a nation." (Washington knows her politics: Clinton does indeed publicly support 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, regardless of gender.) But it was when Maher brought up the “enthusiasm gap” that Hillary Clinton seems to be facing with millennials that Washington responded with her most impassioned comments of the night, calling out Trump as being broadly against the best interests of many Americans. “I think there’s a bigger problem, which is that, right now, we are in a political climate where we are being led by the media — no offense — to vote for the loudest candidate," she said. "And the meanest, the bully-est candidate in the playground, and that we are voting based on a cult of personality or a cult of celebrity, rather than voting in our best interest." Washington explained that if "we really look at policy, voting for Trump is voting against our best interests as Americans, as workers, as people of color, as women." To put it even plainer, Washington delivered this final message: "Voting for Trump is voting against ourselves. Not voting is against ourselves. And I think, in this election, voting for a third-party candidate is voting against ourselves." Olivia Pope is clearly just looking out for you.

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