In the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, an outspoken senator isn't letting President Donald Trump or his administration off the hook. New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand took to social media on Friday, Feb. 9 to air her grievances, and Gillibrand's tweets about how the Trump administration values women speak to a larger conversation society is having around sexism.
"This is an important time to talk about this WH and whether they value women. Because, consistently, their actions tell us they don't," wrote Gillibrand in her 14-tweet thread. "This isn't normal. It isn't acceptable. And in our families, our communities, and our workplaces we need to speak the message about the value of women in our words and our deeds."
Over the course of nine tweets, Gillibrand delivered a laundry list of examples of the Trump administration's stances, policies, and statements about women — from the general public to those in the spotlight of allegations.
Policies "For Women"
Gillibrand says that regardless of the influence of his daughter Ivanka Trump and some well-meaning words on the matter, it's unlikely Trump's administration will follow through with making any meaningful advancements for maternity leave.
"Despite some cheap words in the State of the Union, the President refuses to lift a finger to pass a real paid family leave bill," wrote Gillibrand.
Gillibrand also called out Trump's attack on birth control. In October, Trump announced he would rescind the contraceptive care mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a provision that Planned Parenthood says has helped 62 million women gain contraceptive coverage. The bill risked not just jeopardizing birth control but maternity care access, which is crucial, given that many beneficiaries are disproportionately low-income women. The tax bill was signed into law by Trump on Dec. 22, 2017, potentially eliminating health care coverage for 13 million people over the next decade.
Though Ivanka Trump has labeled herself a champion of women in the workforce, she has come under fire for failing to implement paid maternity leave and equal wages in her own eponymous clothing company.
Women's workplace equity continued to fall squarely into the crosshairs during Trump's first year. In August 2017, the Office of Budget Management (OMB) under Trump rolled back a provision from the Obama administration mandating reporting of wages to help combat the gender pay gap. Per research by the American Association of University of Women (my former employer, for full disclosure), women are still only making about 80 percent comparable to their white male counterparts, and that percentage only gets worse for women of color.
The White House's Record On Sexual Assault And Abuse
In just over one year, Trump and his inner circle have been in headlines repeatedly for their seeming complicity in supporting men accused of sexual misconduct — or for allegations that they've committed misconduct themselves.
In fall 2017, Trump adamantly supported Roy Moore, the candidate who lost to Doug Jones in the Alabama Senatorial race. Moore had been accused of sexual predation and abuse of minors by multiple women, though Trump sided with Moore. (Moore denied the allegations in multiple instances throughout the election.)
Republican National Committee Finance Chairman Steve Wynn stepped down from his role, which involved extensive fundraising for Trump, in February amidst the allegations of sexual misconduct. Wynn was regarded as a close ally of Trump. (Wynn has denied the allegations in a statement obtained by The New York Times.)
Rob Porter, a close adviser to the president, was allowed to continue serving in that capacity even after the White House had been made aware of his alleged domestic abuse of two ex-wives. (Porter denied the allegations in a comment to DailyMail.com, which initially reported the allegations in interviews with the former wives.)
Sure enough, on Friday afternoon, Trump stood by Porter.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, according to The New York Times, reportedly praised a Marine officer accused of sexual harassment while serving as a character witness in his 2016 case.
Let's not forget that Trump himself has been accused of sexual assault by 16 women, some of whom have taken him to court over it. One of these women, Summer Zervos, sued the president for defamation after he called her a liar when she came forward with her allegation. (Trump has given a blanket denial of these allegations.)
"The President absolutely should be held accountable, and hearings should have already been conducted into these serious allegations," wrote Gillibrand.
She ended her Twitter deluge by calling for change in the form of political power. The time to do so, Gillibrand says, is Nov. 6, 2018, which is election day — and every day between now and then.