President Trump began International Women’s Day with a series of grammatically correct tweets: “I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy,” read the message from Trump’s Twitter account early Wednesday.
The tweet, and a subsequent message asking his followers to join him in celebrating women around the world on International Women’s Day, were both sent from an iPhone, though by whom remains unclear. President Trump uses an Android to send his tweets, and these tweets were uncharacteristically free of grammar issues.
That Trump’s administration even acknowledged International Women’s Day at all was significant, given past statements toward women, his infamous “grab ’em by the pussy” brag, and the multiple accusations of sexual assault still pending against him.
After the massive global turnout for the Women’s March protests that prompted nationwide protests the day after his iInauguration, Trump personally criticized the movement, tweeting from his Android, “Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.”
Trump’s predecessor, President Obama, made it a habit to observe the day: Last year he issued a statement touting his Let Girls Learn initiative. The year before, Obama acknowledged the notion that women are on an unequal playing field, calling the “gap between women’s inherent value and how many of them are treated every day” as “one of the great injustices of our time.”
And yet Trump’s acknowledgment seems incongruous in the context of the policies his administration has pursued so far. Aside from a bill supporting paid maternity leave, said to be influenced by daughter Ivanka, the Trump administration stands apart for taking things away from women, or excluding them from the process:
So far, Trump and his administration have:
- Appointed two men to advise the president on what women need in the workplace
- Indicated during the campaign that he believes women should be punished for getting abortions
- Invited only three women to participate in his 17-person business advisory panel
- Declined to publicly consult with any women in his healthcare policy meetings
- Signed an executive order reinstating the global gag rule, which bans international healthcare providers receiving federal funds from providing abortion care to women. Studies have found the rule contributes to unsafe abortions and actively harms AIDS relief efforts overseas.
- Signaled support for the Hyde Amendment bill, which, should it pass the Senate and end up on Trump’s desk, would turn the year-to-year ban on using federal funds for abortions into law.
- Selected a primarily male Cabinet, with only two women.
- Co-signed a GOP healthcare bill that would block $500 million in funding for Planned Parenthood, and put at risk a federal rule requiring Medicaid to provide, among other things, maternity coverage and pediatric care.
And yet, the president does loves women. He said so himself in a media interview in October after the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape came out: “I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do. I’ve said things that, frankly, you hear these things I said. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women. And women have respect for me.”