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From the start of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has relied on Ivanka Trump to convince women that he’s not the human embodiment of every shred of misogyny they’ve faced in their careers and personal lives. Her latest effort, a video on Trump’s meager proposals for child care and maternity leave, launched on Friday.
“The most important job any woman can have is being a mother,” Ivanka says in the video. This is a surprisingly dismissive opening line for a video meant to capture the support of working mothers, who presumably invest a great deal of time and energy in their paying, non-maternal jobs. It seems she’s already given up on working women without children, whose lives are bereft of the meaning and importance their reproductive capacities were meant to provide. One wonders, in Trump’s estimation, what a man’s “most important job” might be. It’s certainly not fathering—Trump has proudly denied that he’d do any parenting beyond “supply[ing] funds” for his kids. He’s also said that men who care for their children are acting “like the wife.”
For women who’ve embraced their most important human role in addition to some kind of extraneous, barely-worth-mentioning additional employment, Ivanka promises that her father will “change outdated labor laws” and advocate for child-care tax credits and paid maternity leave. That’s maternity leave, not parental leave, mind you—fathers and mothers who don’t physically give birth don’t factor into Trump’s ideal family plan. It must be some miserable sign of progress that Donald Trump—who’s called breast pumping “disgusting” and pregnancy “an inconvenience” for employers; who expressed disgust that Kim Kardashian had “gotten a little large” while she was pregnant; who once insulted wife Melania in front of a reporter for not losing her “baby weight” fast enough after giving birth—is endorsing a message that doesn’t explicitly frame pregnancy and motherhood in degrading or sexual terms.
Just three days after this ad made Ivanka’s pro-Trump case to the working mothers of America, the Associated Press has threatened to thwart her hard work with a new investigation of Trump’s alleged history of sexual harassment on the set of The Apprentice. The allegations are nauseating: Eight Apprentice crew members recalled Trump repeatedly victimizing a camerawoman in front of her peers, telling her that that he liked her butt and that the only woman more attractive than her was Ivanka. Trump reportedly made a routine of calling out female contestants for being “hot” and asking the men in the room if they would have sex with that day’s chosen target.