ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump has repeatedly sparked outrage among women since he entered the political fray in the 2016 race.
On one hand, he has garnered praise from some corners for promoting women to top positions within his company and to certain positions within his Cabinet, and can count women such as Kellyanne Conway, his former campaign manager, among his closest advisers.
On the other, he has drawn fire for his comments over the years, including a tape that surfaced just before the election that showed him bragging about groping women, for which he later apologized.
He also faced criticism for a lack of women in key positions in his administration, taking actions during his presidency that some say are detrimental to women’s interests and appearing in pictures surrounded by men at forums and executive order signings.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer praised the work that Trump has done for women before his appearance at an event focused on women’s empowerment this afternoon.
“Women’s History Month is coming to an end, but the Trump administration is committed to empowering women in the workplace. The work that we started this month will not end at the end of this month, but will continue,” Spicer said.
Here is a review of the clearest actions affecting women that have been taken by the Trump administration during the first 69 days of his presidency.
Taking action on abortion and women’s health
On what Trump considered the first full day of work, Jan. 24, the president issued an executive memorandum reinstating the Mexico City policy, which bars federal funding for overseas groups that provide access to or counseling about abortions.
Introduced by President Ronald Reagan at a United Nations conference in Mexico City in 1984, the policy was dubbed the “Global Gag Rule” by abortion-rights groups.
The policy, which has been heavily criticized by Democrats, has been rescinded and reinstated multiple times since its inception.
Aside from the executive memorandum, the other ways in which the Trump administration would change health care for women were stalled with the decision not to vote on the American Health Care Act last week.
If the health care plan had been adopted, Planned Parenthood effectively would have been stripped of Medicaid clients and largely defunded, and individuals would have been banned from using their federal tax credits on plans that covered abortions, an incentive to insurance companies to stop offering the procedure.
Also, over the next few years, certain “essential health benefits,” which currently include maternity care, would no longer be covered by Medicaid.
Photos showing Trump during signings and appearances related to women’s issues have raised some eyebrows.
When he signed the Mexico City policy and when Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Republican leaders about the health care plan on March 23, pictures showed Trump surrounded only by men. One photo that was tweeted by Cliff Sims, a special assistant to Trump, from the March 23 meeting shows that Conway was in the room, but the photo that Pence chose to share from the same meeting showed 25 men and no women.
Focus on working women
Trump has participated in several roundtable discussions about female entrepreneurs and women-run businesses. The issue is one known to be close to his daughter Ivanka’s heart as well.
The topic was discussed at a meeting with women entrepreneurs with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Feb. 13 and earlier this week, Trump hosted a roundtable with women small business owners on Monday March 27.
“Empowering and promoting women in business is an absolute priority in the Trump administration because I know how crucial women are as job creators, role models, and leaders all throughout our communities,” he said at the event.
He has also spoken about other issues that directly relate to women at various points in his presidency — including his joint address to Congress on Feb. 28 — though he has yet to take action on all of the issues in question.
“My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make childcare accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents that they have paid family leave to invest in women’s health, and to promote clean air and clean water, and to rebuild our military and our infrastructure,” he said.
Paid family leave, women’s health issues and the promotion of clean air and water are issues that Ivanka Trump addressed during the campaign or met with experts about during the transition.
During her address to the Republican National Convention, Ivanka Trump said: “As President, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. And he will focus on making quality childcare affordable and accessible for all.”
Women in the White House
Conway, who became the first female campaign manager of a winning presidential campaign when Trump won, touted Trump’s “natural affinity” for “promoting and elevating women.”
“I believe that Donald Trump is someone who is not fully understood for how compassionate and what a great boss he is to women. He has been promoting — he has been promoting and elevating women in the Trump Corporation — in the Trump campaign, in the Trump Cabinet, certainly in the Trump White House. It’s just a very natural affinity for him,” she said.
While she is arguably the most prominent woman advising the president now, Conway and Ivanka Trump are the female figures who appear with Trump the most.
Until now, Ivanka Trump did not have a formal title in the administration but did recently have security clearance approved, received a government-issued communication device and an office on the second floor of the West Wing.
On Thursday, she released a statement announcing that she will have the title of special assistant to the president but will not receive a salary.
First lady Melania Trump decided to stay in New York through their son Barron Trump’s school year, and she has only spoken at a handful of events since her husband took office including this morning, when she spoke about women’s empowerment at the State Department.
The first lady also hosted the International Women’s Day Luncheon on March 8.
Trump also counts among his close advisers Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy press secretary, Katie Walsh, the deputy chief of staff, Hope Hicks, director of strategic communications and Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser.
Trump was criticized earlier in his term for what some said was a lack of diversity among his Cabinet. Trump picked four women for cabinet-level positions — Betsy DeVos (Education), Nikki Haley (U.N. Ambassador), Linda McMahon (Small Business Administration) and Elaine Chao (Transportation) — which is the lowest number of women since George W. Bush’s first cabinet, though he went on to appoint Condoleezza Rice as his secretary of State in his second term.
By contrast, Barack Obama had seven women in Cabinet-level positions at the start of his presidency and Bill Clinton had six; George H.W. Bush had two and Ronald Reagan had one.
For his part, Trump is proud of the women on his team.
“My Cabinet is full of really incredible women leaders,” Trump said Wednesday.
“I’m so proud that the White House and our administration is filled with so many women of such incredible talent,” he said.
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