In an excellent interview with Cosmopolitan published Wednesday, Ivanka Trump addresses the Trump campaign’s recently-announced child care and maternity leave policies with the evasion and quietly-simmering panic that colors every interaction her father has with the press.
On Tuesday night, Donald Trump announced his child care and maternity leave policies that proposes, among other things, six weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers and tax deductions for stay-at-home parents. This policy is a radical departure from the party line and is certainly part of Trump’s master plan to convince women to vote for his dumb ass. Who better than his daughter, Ivanka, a mother of three, to help promote this plan?
After Ivanka appeared on stage with her father Tuesday night to present this plan to the public, on Wednesday, Prachi Gupta, a senior writer at Cosmopolitan, called his daughter on the telephone to discuss it. Ivanka Trump clearly had no idea what she was in for, perhaps assuming that the interview would be full of softballs, easy questions for which she did not have to prepare. When presented with questions about same-sex marriages and the role of paternity leave in Trump’s child care and maternity leave policies, Ivanka lost her shit.
Gupta let Ivanka speak at length about the plan before asking what felt like a perfectly reasonable question about paternity leave. Citing its important role in creating actual gender equality, Gupta posed a simple question: “Why does this policy not include paternity leave?” Ivanka was unable to provide any sort of coherent answer. Then, this happened.
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.
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.
There was an easy way to answer this question without leaping immediately to the defense. Gupta had clearly done her research, following up the previous exchange with a question invoking Trump’s comments in 2004 that a pregnancy is “inconvenient for business.” Instead of tackling the question head on, as a mother and an ostensibly-working woman, Ivanka began her rapid evolution from human being to an IRL Mr. Krabs meme.
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.
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.
Let it be clear that to address comments made in the public sphere is not “editorializing.” It’s addressing something that exists in the public record and is relevant to the subject at hand. Nothing about the Trump campaign has been honest or forthright, with every party involved seemingly unclear on how to comport themselves in public when confronted with questions that demand answers, not regurgitated boilerplate language or dangerous rhetoric. Somehow, part of me thought that Ivanka Trump would rise above this, but sadly I was wrong.
Read the entire interview here; it is fantastic.