Coming off the long-awaited rollout of Donald Trump’s child care and family leave proposals, daughter Ivanka Trump entered into a testy exchange with Cosmopolitan magazine over the Republican presidential nominee’s past comments on pregnancy in the workplace, accusing the reporter of “a lot of negativity” with her questions.
The interview started off congenially.
Cosmopolitan reporter Prachi Gupta asked Trump – whom her father has tapped as a senior policy adviser in his presidential campaign – to address the issue of paid family leave, and why the GOP candidate’s plan did not include provisions for paternity leave.
“In your op-ed, you mention the pay gap for women exacerbates after they bear children, and one of the reasons for that is that mothers are usually charged with child care over men,” Gupta said. “Paternity leave is said to be a great factor in creating gender equality. So I’m wondering, why does this policy not include any paternity leave?”
“This is a giant leap from where we are today, which is sadly, nothing,” Trump responded. “Both sides of the aisle have been unable to agree on this issue, so I think this takes huge advancement.”
Trump, who is an executive vice president at her father’s company and also runs her own namesake brand, went on to say that the plan is also beneficial for same-sex couples.
“[O]bviously, for same-sex couples as well, there’s tremendous benefit here to enabling the mother to recover after childbirth,” Trump said. “It’s critical for the health of the mother. It’s critical for bonding with the child, and that was a top focus of this plan.”
When asked about same-sex couples where both partners are men, Trump said: “The original intention of the plan is to help mothers in recovery in the immediate aftermath of childbirth.”
Gupta pressed for clarification: “So I just want to be clear that, for same-sex adoption, where the two parents are both men, they would not be receiving special leave for that because they don’t need to recover or anything?”
“Well, those are your words, not mine,” Ivanka said. “Those are your words. The plan, right now, is focusing on mothers, whether they be in same-sex marriages or not.”
Gupta then brought up a 2004 comment Donald Trump made about pregnancy to NBC, where he said in an interview that pregnancy is “a wonderful thing for the woman, it’s a wonderful thing for the husband, it’s certainly an inconvenience for a business.”
“It’s surprising to see this policy from him today,” the Cosmopolitan reporter said. “Can you talk a little bit about those comments, and perhaps what has changed?”
Trump bit back with this: “So I think that you have a lot of negativity in these questions, and I think my father has put forth a very comprehensive and really revolutionary plan to deal with a lot of issues. So I don’t know how useful it is to spend too much time with you on this if you’re going to make a comment like that.”
“My father obviously has aof decades of employing women at every level of his company, and supporting women, and supporting them in their professional capacity, and enabling them to thrive outside of the office and within,” she continued. “To imply otherwise is an unfair characterization of his track record and his support of professional women.”
Gupta followed up, saying “I would like to say that I’m sorry the questions — you’re finding them negative, but it is relevant that a presidential candidate made those comments, so I’m just following up.”
“Well, you said he made those comments,” Trump said, parroting a line typical of her father’s own interviews about his past statements. “I don’t know that he said those comments.”
The Cosmopolitan reported noted that “this is quoted from an NBC [interview] from 2004. I definitely did not make that up. I do want to talk to you a little bit beyond the plan, as well—”
According to the transcript, Trump seemed to cut off Gupta, saying, “I think what I was — there’s plenty of time for you to editorialize around this, but I think he put forth a really incredible plan that has pushed the boundaries of what anyone else is talking about…I hope that, regardless of what your political viewpoint is, this should be celebrated.”
Trump took one more question on how the plan would be paid for before signing off.
“He’s going to unveil his total tax-reform plan on Thursday, and this is a component of that, so it will be included in his overall budget and economic vision. So it is accounted for, it is paid for under this plan, and it is budget-neutral,” she said.