WASHINGTON ― Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump plans to announce a proposed paid maternity leave policy Tuesday night as his campaign makes a big push to woo female voters. But the surprisingly progressive move comes after more than two decades of the businessman making disparaging comments about working mothers.
Lawyer Elizabeth Beck said Trump had an “absolute meltdown” when she asked to take a break from a deposition in 2011 so that she could pump breast milk for her 1-month-old daughter.
“He got up, his face got red, he shook his finger at me and he screamed, ‘You’re disgusting, you’re disgusting,’ and he ran out of there,” she told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota last year.
The same year that Beck’s interaction with Trump allegedly took place, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski asked him whether he thought it was fair to pay mothers less than men who have the same job. Trump said he understood why employers would do that.
“An employer could say she’s not giving 100 percent, she’s giving me 84 percent, and 16 percent is going toward taking care of children,” Trump said. “So maybe you can also understand the employer’s point of view.”
An employer could say she’s not giving 100 percent, she’s giving me 84 percent, and 16 percent is going toward taking care of children. Donald Trump on working mothers in 2011
Trump has also called pregnancy “an inconvenience” for an employer.
“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 said in a 2004 “Dateline” interview. “And whether people want to say that or not, the fact is it is an inconvenience for a person that is running a business.”
When the interviewer asked Trump whether one of his female employees felt pressured to return to work three weeks after giving birth because she was afraid of being fired, Trump said no ― but “maybe she should feel that way a little bit,” he added.
Trump’s ambivalence about women in the workplace dates back to at least 1994, when he complained that his then-wife Ivana lost her “softness” when she “became an executive, not a wife.”
“I have days where I think it’s great,” he told “Primetime Live” correspondent Nancy Collins. “And then I have days where, if I come home ― and I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist ― but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof.”
Now, Trump is attempting to close the potentially historic gender gap between himself and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who is beating him by double digits among women in recent polls. The New York real estate mogul launched a “Women’s Empowerment Tour” this weekend, and reportedly plans to unveil a proposal to guarantee six weeks of partially paid maternity leave for working mothers. Trump’s plan, although short on details, would supposedly pay for itself by eliminating fraud in the unemployment insurance program.
Clinton’s campaign, which is proposing 12 weeks of full paid leave for all parents, slammed Trump’s proposal on Tuesday.
“After spending his entire career ― and this entire campaign ― demeaning women and dismissing the need to support working families, Donald Trump released a regressive and insufficient ‘maternity leave’ policy that is out-of-touch, half-baked and ignores the way Americans live and work today,” said spokeswoman Maya Harris.
“The lack of seriousness of this proposal is no surprise given his history of disrespecting women in the workplace and the fact that there’s no evidence he ever provided paid family leave or childcare to his own employees,” she continued.
Trump is expected to reveal more details of his plan during a campaign event at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Aston, Pennsylvania.