Ivanka Trump is turning into her father. The usually composed and genteel businesswoman gave a very Donald Trumpian interview to Cosmopolitan on Wednesday, in which she denied that Donald has said the things he’s said, stumbled over basic questions about his new maternity leave proposal, and scolded the reporter for doing her job. Then, when the interview turned out to be more pointed than a sweet conversation between gal friends, Ivanka bounced.
Donald Trump’s Ivanka-backed plan proposes six weeks of paid unemployment benefits for women who physically give birth to a child, paid for by cutting “fraud” in the unemployment insurance system. It does not include any paternity leave or leave for a mother who adopted her child or whose partner gave birth. Paternity leave has been proven to have lasting effects on greater equality in housework, child care responsibilities, and wages. Cosmo reporter Prachi Gupta pointed that out, and Ivanka brushed it off:
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. Both sides of the aisle have been unable to agree on this issue, so I think this takes huge advancement and obviously, for same-sex couples as well, there's tremendous benefit here to enabling the mother to recover after childbirth. 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.
OK, so when it comes to same-sex—
So it’s meant to benefit, whether it’s in same-sex marriages as well, to benefit the mother who has given birth to the child if they have legal married status under the tax code.
Ivanka did not elaborate on what difference legal marriage makes if the leave plan only benefits the partner who gives birth, nor on whether it might also be important for fathers and non–birth mothers to bond with new children. But she got testy when Gupta asked her for more information on gay couples who adopt.
Well, what about gay couples, where both partners are men?
The policy is fleshed out online, so you can go see all the elements of it. But the original intention of the plan is to help mothers in recovery in the immediate aftermath of childbirth.
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. [Laughs.] Those are your words. The plan, right now, is focusing on mothers, whether they be in same-sex marriages or not.
That uncomfortable laugh became outright hostility when Gupta dared put the Trump proposal in context with his previous remarks on maternity leave.
OK, I just wanted to make sure I understood. In 2004, Donald Trump said that pregnancy is an inconvenient thing for a business. It's surprising to see this policy from him today. Can you talk a little bit about those comments, and perhaps what has changed?
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.
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. I don’t know that he said those comments.
Donald Trump absolutely made those comments—Cosmo was taking his words from a 2004 Dateline interview—and they’ve come up a zillion times in the course of this campaign. Ivanka knows that. This is a strategy taken straight out of her father’s feverish campaign diary: Insult a reporter if she asks a question you don’t want to answer, and if that doesn’t shut her up, lie. Gupta continued:
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—
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. On child care specifically, there are no proposals on the table. He really took ownership of this issue, and I really applaud him for doing that. I hope that, regardless of what your political viewpoint is, this should be celebrated.
That’s another lie—there is an alternative plan on the table. Hillary Clinton long ago proposed capping child care expenses at 10 percent of each family’s respective income and giving 12 weeks of paid family leave to new parents or people who have to care for a sick family member.
Ivanka’s cool exterior is starting to melt as reporters have begun to point out her various hypocrisies. She says she champions paid maternity leave, but the company that makes her clothes doesn’t give its employees any. She carries on about supporting women in business, but she doesn’t pay the aspiring businesswomen who intern for her. She lied when she said the Trump hotels give their employees paid maternity leave (they offer 12 weeks unpaid leave, the minimum required by federal law) and basically read Clinton’s platform aloud to pass it off as her father’s at the Republican National Convention. It’s time to recognize Ivanka’s gender-equity shtick for what it is: Donald Trump’s self-entitled sleaze in a slightly more woman-friendly package.