Ivanka Trump acknowledged the viral #MeToo movement in a tweet Monday, but President Donald Trump’s family members drew raised eyebrows in the past with their comments about sexual harassment in the workplace.
After Sunday’s Golden Globes awards, the president’s older daughter tweeted her praise for Oprah Winfrey’s speech, saying “Let’s all come together, women & men, & say #TIMESUP ! #United.” Time’s Up refers to an initiative by women in Hollywood to combat harassment. Some critics questioned Ivanka Trump’s decision to weigh in given the sexual misconduct allegations made against her father during the 2016 campaign, which the president has denied.
Here’s a look at some of the Trump family’s past comments on workplace harassment:
In August 2016, following sexual harassment allegations against former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, USA Today asked the then-candidate how he would feel if Ivanka Trump faced similar behavior at work.
“I would like to think she would find another career or company if that was the case,” Trump said.
In a subsequent interview, Trump seemed to try to adjust his comments.
“I think it’s got to be up to the individual,” Trump told The Washington Post in an August interview. “It also depends on what’s available. There may be a better alternative; then there may not. If there’s not a better alternative, then you stay. But it could be there’s a better alternative where you’re taken care of better.”
“Some people would rather change and some people don’t,” he told the newspaper. “Some people don’t want to be forced to stay in a certain atmosphere.”
In response to his father’s comments to USA Today, Eric Trump, the president’s third child, said he didn’t think his older sister would put herself in a position to be sexually harassed in the first place.
“Ivanka is a strong, powerful woman, she wouldn’t allow herself to be objected to it,” Eric Trump told CBS’ Charlie Rose. “And I think she would, as a strong person, at the same time, I don’t think she would allow herself to be subjected to that. I think that’s a point he was making, and I think he did so well.”
Donald Trump Jr.
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest child, has suggested in the past that women who cannot handle harassment should consider a career change.
“I’m of that mindset — and I’ll get into trouble, I’m sure I’ll get myself in trouble one of these days,” Trump Jr. said on a 2013 episode of The Opie and Anthony Show. “If you can’t handle some of the basic stuff that’s become a problem in the workforce today, then you don’t belong in the workforce. Like, you should go maybe teach kindergarten. I think it’s a respectable position.”
“You can’t be negotiating billion-dollar deals if you can’t handle, like, you know,” he added, though he said a line should be drawn at certain behavior.
The president’s daughter, who has since joined his White House, took a different tone on workplace harassment than her father and brothers in an August 2016 interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.
“I think harassment in general, regardless, sexual or otherwise, is totally inexcusable,” she said. “And if it transpires, it needs to be reported and dealt with on a company level.”
Although several members of the Trump family have publicly discussed sexual harassment in the workplace, Melania Trump, who generally avoids making public statements on hot issues, has kept quiet.
Some critics of the White House have called for the first lady, a former model, to be more outspoken.
“I want to hear about the silence of Melania Trump,” Meryl Streep told the New York Times earlier this month, in response to a question about why the actress herself had not been more vocal. “I want to hear from her. She has so much that’s valuable to say.”