Was Ivanka Trump Instrumental In Killing Obama’s Equal Pay Rule?

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President Donald Trump is not the only hypocrite in the family, as his daughter has proven to work behind the curtains to end equal pay regulations.

President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, has long claimed to be an advocate for women’s rights, but documents now show she was more than just complicit in supporting her father’s rollback of former President Barack Obama’s equal pay rules.

Watchdog organization Democracy Forward obtained emails and calendar entries after filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The documents help to prove that Ivanka Trump played a major role in the decision to no longer require that companies with 100 or more employees report how much they pay staff by breaking details down by gender, race, and ethnicity.

“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 reporters.

The emails showed that Ivanka Trump’s chief of staff, Julie Radford, worked closely with the OMB as well as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to reschedule meetings on Obama’s transparency rule so her schedule could be accommodated. And, while Ivanka Trump’s email was not included in the email threads, she was listed as an invited participant for a meeting discussing the equal pay rule.

On April 20, 2017, Radford wrote an email to Kailey Pickitt, the executive assistant to the OMB director, saying that neither she nor Ivanka Trump could attend a scheduled meeting, having it rescheduled to April 27, 2017.

“The purpose [of the meeting] is to discuss an EEOC form that requires employers to provide certain wage data,” the email explained.

After other scheduling conflicts, the meeting was finally rescheduled once again to May 2, 2017.

According to emails exchanged on July 10, 2017, Radford and acting EEOC chair Victoria Lipnic had an extensive discussion on the rollback of the Obama-era rule, with Radford forwarding Lipnic’s notes to OMB staffer John Gray. While the content of these notes is redacted, Radford appeared always in charge, telling email recipients she was “Attempting to keep this initial call relatively small so we can determine best next steps and direction” in a message from July 12, 2017.

Finally on Aug. 30, 2017, one day after the administration announced the equal pay rule would be reviewed, OMB press secretary Meghan Burris emailed then-White House spokesman for the president’s daughter Josh Raffel a statement from Ivanka Trump, stating she was in support of the rollback.

“Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results,” Ivanka Trump’s statement read. “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.”

The statement was read publicly that same day.

To Troiano, the statement conceals the truth, as it makes it sound as if the president’s daughter was merely supporting the rollback. But according to the emails, her chief of staff was deeply involved in the meetings with White House officials involving this matter. That, Troiano told reports, shows Ivanka Trump “had more of a hand in this than simply just being complicit.”

On Equal Pay Day in April 2017, just days before the emails began, Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser who vowed to advocate for women, children, and families, tweeted: “#EqualPayDay is a reminder that women deserve equal pay for equal work. We must work to close the gender pay gap!”

Yet, the EEOC found that collecting pay data on big companies would help to secure pay equity, and Ivanka Trump, the self-professed women’s advocate, helped her father to squash the regulation.

According to Troiano, the move was unlawful, as it “halted equal pay transparency rules with virtually no explanation.”

Perhaps that’s why she was silent this year on Equal Pay Day. Her lack of involvement, at least online, is exactly what prompted Democracy Forward to file a suit for the documents.

Thanks to the group’s efforts, they found details that “[fly] in the face of her supposed advocacy of women,” Troiano said.

"I think it’s very important that hypocrisy is exposed," she added.

Much like her father, Ivanka Trump appears to have wasted no time showing the American people just who she is: a hypocrite. And, thanks to these emails, we know that she was directly involved in regressing the little bit of progress that had been made with regard to equal pay. 

What a stellar advocate for women’s rights she turned out to be.

Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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