When It Comes To Celebrating And Promoting Women, Trump Has Always Walked the Walk

Stewart Lawrence Stewart J. Lawrence is a Washington, D.C.-based public policy analyst who writes frequently on immigration and Latino affairs. He is also founder and managing director of Puentes & Associates, Inc., a bilingual survey research and communications firm.
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Let’s be clear:  Donald Trump is no “feminist.”

He probably hasn’t read Simone DeBeauvoir’s The Second Sex.  He’s unlikely to have seen Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues.”

But you don’t have to be a feminist to esteem and respect women.  Donald Trump clearly respects women.  He’s proven it time and again in the most significant ways possible.

Consider his hiring practices.  Earlier this year, The Washington Post sent out a female reporter to try to get dirt on Trump from women that had worked for him.

Her hit piece turned into a paean to Trump. Every woman she spoke with sang his praises.  They said he was the best boss they’d ever had, and that he’d changed their lives forever.

Apparently, not all of them are happy about some of the things Trump has said on the campaign trail.  Would they vote for him?   Not all would, apparently.

But they don’t doubt that he supports women in their professional life. In fact, even when he was hard on them, it actually helped them grow — and they’ll always be grateful, they say.

Trump was clearly ahead of his time. Without prompting or legal threats, he hired women over men – and then he promoted them.   This wasn’t affirmative action; it was Trump action.  He didn’t care that these women were women.  He wanted their talent.

The women interviewed revealed something else very telling: They didn’t always have the confidence to do the job. Trump mentored them and convinced them they could.  And because he believed in them so thoroughly, they say it helped them believe in themselves.  And with their leadership, his company grew.

Has anyone bothered to notice the composition of Trump’s campaign team?  His senior campaign manager (Kelly Anne Conway), top domestic policy adviser and de facto chief of staff (Ivanka Trump) and chief national spokesperson (Katrina Pierson) are all strong and confident women.

How many candidates in recent memory have relied so heavily on women?  And they’ve all delivered big-time for Trump.  His campaign was in its death throes when Conway took over following his disastrous month after the Democratic Convention.  He has since surged back into contention – and then some.

I can’t prove it, but I suspect that much of Trump’s attitudes toward women have been shaped, more than anything else, by his relationship with his daughter.

It was Ivanka who pressured her father to fire his radioactive campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (who’d caused a scandal after reportedly bruising a female reporter), and then to replace Paul Manafort, who was about to become a political liability, with Conway, his pollster, whom Trump has known and respected for years.

It was a brilliant stroke.  It’s allowed Ivanka and Conway to form a de facto alliance to convince The Donald to “pivot” away from bombast and demagoguery toward a more disciplined, message-based campaign

Why would Trump listen to Ivanka?  It’s obvious, I think..  It’s a father’s deep love for his daughter.  She’s clearly the apple of his eye, and there’s probably nothing that pains him more than when Ivanka is upset with him. Which gives her enormous influence.

When Ivanka appeared at the GOP convention to introduce her father, their mutual affection was apparent.  Even when Ivanka went rogue and began calling for equal pay for equal work, angering many conservatives.  .You could tell that he was proud of her.

And Ivanka’s gone on to write Trump’s platform on maternity leave and just appeared in one of his best campaign videos yet.  She’s extols the virtues of motherhood, saying it’s the pre-eminent role for a woman, but makes clear that women can have it all – wife, mother, and successful work professional, too

Clearly, she has, with active encouragement from her father.

Hillary Clinton could probably take a page from Donald Trump’s life.  How many women have come forward to say that Hillary tutored them in politics?  None that I am aware of.   How many women occupy senior roles in the Clinton campaign?  Not many, it appears.

And look at poor Chelsea.  She’s a loyal surrogate but looks and sounds like a campaign prop.  Ivanka shines as brightly as her father does in the spotlight.  Chelsea seems to be doing her mother’s bidding in the shadows.  She stands small, not tall

Clinton can sneer all she wants about Trump’s support for beauty pageants, as if that support is a mark of his “sexism” (in fact, many analysts believe that modern pageants are empowering for women).   She can fulminate against Trump for some of his boorish and insulting remarks (Trump insults men just as much, in fact).

But when it comes to walking the walk and actually promoting women, it’s not clear that Clinton can compete with Trump – let alone stand in judgment.