“Yeah, well,” she began. “Look, I’m not in every interaction my father has, but he’s not a groper.”
She smiled at this—a groper!—as if enjoying how ridiculous it sounded.
“It’s not who he is. And I’ve known my father obviously my whole life, and he has total respect for women. He was promoting women in development and construction at a time when it was unheard of. There was no trend towards equality in the real estate and construction industry in the 1980s, and he was doing it because he believes, ultimately, in merit.”
What is nearly certain is that Donald Trump did not consider himself a feminist in the way-back ‘80s, nor was he making these hiring decisions, particularly, to shatter any glass ceilings. He enjoyed bucking convention (something he still seems to enjoy), but mostly, Trump says he admired hard workers. And women, it appeared, often worked harder. So he hired them.
“I know you’re a woman in a man’s world,” he said [to one hire]. “And while men tend to be better than women, a good woman is better than 10 good men.”
That said, this decision—to hire the hardest workers—has won Trump accolades in retrospect, and now serves as the counterpoint ne plus ultra when charges of sexism, harassment, and otherwise lewd or inappropriate behavior are brought up. Trump hired women for top posts! In the construction industry!
Even Megyn Kelly, positioned for the last nine months as the Trump Slayer, said this week:
He’s such a contradiction in that way. He’s much more complicated than the buffoon that the New York Daily News—for example—would have you believe when it comes to women.
Never mind that Trump is on record saying that the “ideal woman”—in this case, his mother—is a housewife. Or that he vowed never to again allow one of his wives into his business affairs (despite her apparent success) because it complicated his preferred spousal roles.
My big mistake with Ivana was taking her out of the role of wife and allowing her to run one of my casinos in Atlantic City, then the Plaza Hotel. The problem was, work was all she wanted to talk about. When I got home at night, rather than talking about the softer subjects of life, she wanted to tell me how well the Plaza was doing, or what a great day the casino had. I will never again give a wife responsibility within my business.
Trump may have hired women for the top posts in construction and industry, but make no mistake: When it comes to his own women, mothers and wives alike, he wants not a hard-nosed business mogul, but a woman who will entertain “the softer subjects.” (His current wife Melania has a jewelry line, but thus far seems to comport with this mandate.)
On this count, his daughter may be hard pressed to offer an excuse. Ivanka Trump appears to celebrate her mother Ivana for being a working parent. A glowing post on Ivanka’s website revisits the golden years when, “unlike many of the society wives in her social circle, Ivana was devoted to her career, working long hours with great energy and enthusiasm.” Those would be precisely the years that Donald Trump has complained about.