Though Ivanka Trump markets herself as a champion of women’s empowerment, that branding rings hollow in light of her role in the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era rules seeking to help close the gender pay gap.
According to Newsweek, government watchdog group Democracy Forward obtained internal Office of Budget and Management documents through the Freedom of Information Act that reveal the president’s daughter was not passively complicit in rolling back the equal pay rule but also had a hand in reaching the decision.
> The emails and calendar entries Democracy Forward recently received, and which Newsweek obtained, show that Trump’s chief of staff worked with the Office of Management and Budget and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to rearrange meetings on the equal pay transparency rule to accommodate the first daughter’s schedule.
> “It’s clear from the emails that we’ve uncovered that Ivanka and her staff were instrumental in the administration’s decision to actually go forth with the rollback,” Democracy Forward spokeswoman Charisma Troiano told Newsweek on Tuesday.
> Ivanka Trump was not visibly included in the email threads that had multiple redactions, but she was listed as an invited participant, along with six other OMB and EEOC staff members, for a meeting to discuss the rule that would have required companies with 100 employees or more to submit data on wages by gender, race and ethnicity.
Trump’s chief of staff Julie Radford was sure to inform Kailey Pickitt, executive assistant to the OMB director, of scheduling conflicts that prohibited her and Trump from attending meetings on the rule.
The meeting, which finally took place in May after being rescheduled several times, was for the purpose of discussing “an EEOC form that requires employers to provide certain wage data.”
The decision to stay the rule was announced on August 29, 2017.
> On August 30, 2017—the day after the Trump administration announced the rule designed to close the wage gap would be stayed and reviewed—OMB press secretary Meghan Burris emailed Josh Raffel, at the time a White House spokesman for Ivanka Trump, a statement attributed to her supporting the rollback, along with those of three other business and workforce leaders.
> “Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results,” read Trump’s statement, issued publicly that day. “We look forward to continuing to work with EEOC, OMB, Congress and all relevant stakeholders on robust policies aimed at eliminating the gender wage gap.”
> Troiano said that Trump’s statement alone could imply that she merely announced support for the rollback, when in fact her chief of staff was involved with White House officials on the issue, showing the first daughter “had more of a hand in this than simply just being complicit.”
The Trump administration "unlawfully halted equal pay transparency rules with virtually no explanation," Troiano said, despite six years of EEOC analysis showing the collection of pay data was a necessary step to secure pay equity and enforce anti-discrimination laws.
By publica appearances, the first daughter seems to believe in taking action to help ensure equal pay for women:
> When Ivanka Trump became a senior White House adviser, she vowed to advocate for women, children and families. On Equal Pay Day in April 2017, days before the first emails, she tweeted: “#EqualPayDay is a reminder that women deserve equal pay for equal work. We must work to close the gender pay gap!”
> In a longer post that day on Instagram, she wrote: "I am proud to work towards this goal alongside my father and in support of the administration's commitment to women and families."
But on Equal Pay Day this April, she was silent on the issue, prompting Democracy Forward to sue the OMB over its failure to respond to the watchdog's public records request from November seeking documents on Trump's role in the rollback decision.
Troiano is interested in exposing the two-faced nature of Trump’s approach to women’s issues:
> What came out of them "flies in the face of her supposed advocacy of women," Troiano said. "I think it’s very important that hypocrisy is exposed."