At a time when a gender-blind parental leave arms race is sweeping America’s private sector, it’s a special kind of ironic that a man who just clinched the nomination of one of our two major parties on the supposed strength of his business acumen thinks pregnancy is an “inconvenience” for companies.
On Thursday, NBC News reupped an October 2004 Dateline segment on Carolyn Kepcher, then a top executive at Trump Golf Properties and Apprentice star. In an interview about Kepcher’s maternity leave, Trump expressed ambivalence about her decision. “Pregnancy is never—it’s a wonderful thing for the woman. It's a wonderful thing for the husband. It's certainly an inconvenience for a business,” Trump said. “And whether people want to say that or not, the fact is it is an inconvenience for a person that is running a business.”
The segment, pegged with the Trump-esque title “Blonde Ambition,” finds Kepcher recalling her apprehension when it came time to tell Trump about her pregnancy. “I thought, oh, if I tell him I’m pregnant, he’s going to think ‘oh, this is going to be a long nine months.’ So, If I tell him at six months, it’s only—it will be over in three months,” she recounts. “Maybe in my mind he might think this would perhaps be a setback or ‘maybe I'm going to have to bring somebody in to replace her throughout her pregnancy, or when she takes a maternity leave.”
Kepcher only took three weeks of full-time maternity leave, then “part-time after that,” she says in the clip. Asked if he thought his employee might have felt that she had to hurry back or risk getting replaced, Trump said, “I don’t think so. I think she loves her job.” But, he said, the concept of Kepcher feeling pressured to cut leave short is “an interesting premise. Maybe she should feel that way a little bit. But the fact is that would not have happened.”
Trump is notoriously repulsed by the concept of pregnancy and the women who contend with its fruits. In its Thursday Dateline post, NBC called up a bizarre anecdote from earlier this year:
Ivanka, who gave birth on March 27, was back on the campaign trail within two weeks, appearing with her father at a rally in Bethpage, New York. “You know, she had a baby like five days ago,” Trump praised her during the rally, which was actually held 10 days after Ivanka gave birth. “She did a good job. So I should not say Ivanka, you're fired, right? I promise.”
The Republican presidential nominee has also said that the workplace pumping of breast milk, a necessary practice for many new mothers, is “disgusting.”