President Trump may have promised to be a “champion” for women and working families, but women know better. From his decades of questionable approaches to corporate and labor laws to his apparent disdain for working mothers to his casual response to allegations of serial sexual assault – we know he will never be our champion. Looking back at his first 100 days, we see that he has governed exactly as we suspected– against our interests– setting women and working families back years.
Trump’s attacks on women and working families have been dizzying, and they seem to be timed to demoralize women beyond just the harmful policy consequences. An image that I just can’t forget is the photos of a group of old, white men sitting around to strip women of insurance coverage for maternity and newborn health care as part of TrumpCare. So far, we’ve beaten that back, but Trump seems to be renewing the effort, and somehow I just can’t imagine he’ll bring our interests to the table in his next negotiation either.
At the same time, his revocation of key executive orders from the Obama administration that provided common sense protections for women in the workplace has real life implications. By undoing the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, Trump targeted a woman’s right to a safe working environment and access to pay transparency. The order provided important protections for people working for federal contractors in terms of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or discrimination allegations, and would have improved equal pay by requiring federal contractors to provide employees with basic information about their pay, including hours worked, overtime earnings, and any pay deductions. He got rid of this order right before Equal Pay Day (the day women have to work until in 2017 to be paid as much as men were in 2016). He also reenacted and dramatically expanded the “global gag rule,” revoking U.S. aid from women’s health groups across the world if they so much as mention the word “abortion.” He did this immediately following the Women’s March and the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
I’ll say this for Mr. “The Art of the Deal” his skill for ironically cruel timing is uncanny.
But Trump didn’t stop at executive actions. He torpedoed support for women and working families in his initial budget proposal, too. After promising to unburden parents from soaring child care costs during his campaign, he instead intends to slash after school and summer care for 1.6 million children nationwide, making it that much harder for their parents to go to work and earn a paycheck. To top it all off, Trump proposed a 21 percent cut to the Department of Labor, which would severely limit the Department’s, and especially the Women’s Bureau’s, ability to safeguard and promote our interests.
And while we could go on about the consequences of his direct actions in his first 100 days (his cabinet and Supreme Court choices, the Muslim ban, separating moms from their children through his immigration policies…), it’s also important to recognize the harm done by his failure to act. We need a comprehensive paid family and medical leave plan that guarantees 12 weeks of time to care for a newborn or adopted child, and for one’s own serious health condition or that of a family member. Notably, Trump has failed to move forward on even his woefully inadequate, discriminatory maternity leave plan that excludes fathers, same-sex couples and adoptive parents; and doesn’t even mention paid time off to care for yourself or a sick loved one.
Similarly, parents want the very best for our kids– and that means child care we can trust, no matter our income level. That’s why we need a comprehensive, affordable child care plan that would let parents go to work knowing their kids are safe and happy. Meanwhile, Trump also made promises for quick child care reform – but he hasn’t even bothered to offer the American people the few crumbs he’s proposed in the past for child care support (not surprisingly, his idea is more tax cuts for his wealthy friends instead of real support for working people).
If there was any doubt before, Trump’s record in the first 100 days has proved he is no champion for women and working families, and is, in fact, a menace. And since there seems to be confusion about what the word “champion” means, Merriam-Webster can should tweet him the definition, because it’s clear he doesn’t have a clue.
Tracy Sturdivant is the co-founder and co-executive director for Make It Work, a nonprofit organization championing new policy solutions to help families make it work – and making sure public officials are doing the same.